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Would You Trust Your Phone to Write Your Away Message?

A new mobile app called Status will tell people whether you are at work, home, or out and about -- automatically.

A new mobile app called Status will help you tell people whether you are at work, home, or out and about; if you’re driving, biking or running; and whether your phone battery is low. It composes automated status messages that are shared with your family and friends.

While this might sound like a treasure map for a stalker, the people behind Status tried to build it to be conscious of privacy concerns.

For instance, you can share that you are “at home” without displaying where that is. You can go “off the grid” whenever you want. Nobody can see you unless you are connected on the app. And Status says it does not store location history. It is available for iOS and Android.

But, if you feel okay with the app sharing it on your behalf, Status aims to explain for you why you’re not picking up your phone: you’re driving, or your phone is dead. Or, it could send your spouse a push notification when you’ve left the office. These are the kinds of simple updates that might normally require a back-and-forth conversation.

The automated “away message” is something a lot of applications have tried: Life360, Path, Jaiku and Google Latitude, to name a few.

In fact, Status was the original working name for Twitter, when it was conceived of as a way to send quick live updates, and WhatsApp originally started as a mobile presence app before pivoting to mobile messaging.

Status founder Kulveer Taggar thinks he can breathe fresh life into the idea, particularly since Apple has started supporting ways for developers to get better access to location and movement data without killing battery life. His company, Egomotion, which raised seed funding from Google Ventures and others, has changed direction a number of times.

Egomotion previously made an app for Android called Agent that helped people automate all sorts of things on their phone, but he’s more interested in using what your phone knows about you as a social tool.

“The thing we’ve been excited about is this idea of context. The phone is showing what we’re doing, and we’re using that information intelligently,” Taggar said. “But the most useful part of context is sharing it.”

Taggar said that he wants Status to evolve to be more about what you’re doing than where you’re doing it. “I don’t know if it’s Edward Snowden or what, but people don’t really like sharing their location. So it’s more about a sense of if you’re free or busy.” He imagines Status will help friends coordinate activities.

This article originally appeared on

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