The idea behind the Circle of 6 application for Android and iPhone is simple: provide users of the app with options to quickly ask friends they trust for help when they encounter situations that are either uncomfortable for them or outright dangerous.
While it is possible to use your phone directly, this is usually limited to contacting a single friend only, and if that friend is not available at the time, you may be out of time to make other calls or messages.
After you have installed Circle of 6 on your mobile phone, you are asked to add up to six friends from your contacts list to the app. It is not necessary to add that many though, as you can add contacts twice or multiple times in case you do not want to add that many to it.
The app suggests to send out a message to all friends you have added to inform them that they have been added to your fast response list, but that is not mandatory.
Once set up, you can start using the app with a couple of simply taps. First, tap on the circle in the middle of the app to display the options that you have:
Once you make the selection, the app will try to pinpoint your location automatically (you need GPS enabled for that it appears).
Once done, it will display a message that includes your location and English text that is asking your contacts to help you out.
Here is a video demonstrating the apps' capabilities.
In addition to making available these direct contact options, you also get direct access to "Rape or Secual Assault RAINN" and "Relationship Abuse: Love is Respect" hotlines that you can call directly.
To avoid that all friends that you have added to your circle of six respond at the same time, you can use the application to confirm that you have received help already.
The application has a couple of issues. First, it is only available in English. If your main language is not English, it is awkward to use it, especially if some of your contacts do not speak English at all or only limited.
The hotlines too are only for users from the US (and New Delhi it seems) which has no use whatsoever to users from other countries or regions.
What should happen is that the developers add customization options to the application so that users of it can change the default messages of the app that are used to contact friends, and also the hotlines that are displayed here by default.
A fail-safe mechanism would also be handy. Since you do have to use the app to send out the message, it may not always be possible to do so. An option to hold down a button of your phone, that, when released will send out the message automatically, would help a lot.
It would also be great if the "call for help" icons would be displayed directly, as it will save you another tap on the phone and there is really no reason why the actions are not displayed immediately.
Circle of 6 is a promising application. If you are living in the US or another supported region or country, it may be a great application for you. People from other countries may want to wait until the app is localized before they start to use it.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.