Everyone knows that awkward shuffle of sorts that happens when you’re clicking with someone or a new group of friends and it comes time to exchange numbers at the end of the night. Nobody likes fumbling with their phone as they pass it around to have people input their number, and sometimes you might only want to connect with one or two people in the group.
Knock Knock is a new app that seeks to make that whole process a bit less awkward, allowing people in a group to simply knock twice on their phone’s screen — even when the device is asleep or stowed away in their pocket — to instantly exchange their phone number or various social media handles.
The app, created by Humin founders Ankur Jain and David Wyler, is backed by an odd assortment of investors that includes billionaire Richard Branson, Will.i.am, and Sophia Bush, and it launched on Wednesday for both iPhone and Android.
Knock Knock uses Bluetooth and Apple’s Beacon technology to allow for phones with the app installed to connect without having to be unlocked. With location sharing turned on, the app will even record the place and time that you exchanged contact details with the other person.
After someone initiates the connection by knocking twice on their phone, the other people in the group knock twice on their phones as well, and a grouping within the app is formed where people can selectively exchange the information they want to share with the people in the group. If you’re at a bar and have your eye on a particular someone in the group but aren’t a huge fan of their friends, you can opt to share your Facebook or Twitter handle with the group at large while only divulging your phone number to that specific person.
Connecting via Knock Knock is also an easy way to create a short-term group messaging thread, and since you don’t have to give out your number unless you want to, it comes in handy if you’re heading out for the night with a large group of friends. Group messaging threads are notorious for unwanted notifications, so Knock Knock lets you ghost your way out of the group without notifying everyone — and you can still follow up and share your number or email with a specific person the next day.
But the coolest feature of Knock Knock is that it can act like a magic wand of sorts, revealing other Knock Knock users who are in the room when you walk into a party or bar — think Hermione’s
Homenum Revelio spell in “Harry Potter” that pointed out other humans in the room. Since connecting over Knock Knock requires everyone to knock twice on their phone, if you open the app and knock twice without letting other people know, the app will ping your surroundings and show you other Knock Knock users — including those you haven’t connected to already.
Knock Knock cofounder’s Ankur Jain says the team will be marketing the app at select universities including Harvard, UPenn, Stanford, Berkeley, USC, and Cornell in August, when most students will be going out during their school’s “Welcome Week.”