The DADapp private social network re-launches on Mac – But does it have legs?

With people becoming ever more confused about exactly how private their interactions are on social networks – especially Facebook – it seems there is a wider market opening up for private social networks where sharing is more explicitly hidden between groups you consciously choose. Take Path for instance.

To that end the slightly oddly named DADapp, a new private social network re-launches today.

We covered it last year. Is the re-launch any better?

Some 18 months in development, the new DADapp is based on desktop software you download which then networks with devices (so long as they have an email address attached to them) and connects with other DADapp users you approve of.

DADapp can be downloaded free onto your PC or Mac and it then gets started listing photos, videos, music and documents into a navigable and searchable catalog, without moving them from their original location. This catalog can be shared with other DADapp users (multi-user packs are available), but no actual media will be shared until you say so. Some 3rd party add-ons already in the pipeline, they say.

After downloading the software you sign up for a free trial, get a licence code on email (how quaint!) and then the DADapp requests you scan files in your user folder you might want to share – although you can skip this process. It’s at this point I wasn’t keen on some software I wasn’t familiar with scanning my folders. You can set up the software on other computers in your household on the network and they will also appear on the DADapp software.

You then can access all documents, images, music and video. The software syncs between anyone on your network. So far so good.

Now, from my perspective, as someone who views really good looking looking web and mobile apps all the time, this isn’t very exciting. It feels a little like software from another era. However, there may well be people – especially families – out there who would appreciate this approach.

Would this replace something like Dropbox? Maybe – it’s more visual in representation and probably more accessible to a mainstream audience. Has it got the same traction? No, in a word. It’s also take a year to re-launch itself.

However, Julian Ranger, founder of DADapp, insists: “Many bloggers and commentators have voiced concern only recently that privacy continues to be compromised. We’re offering a genuine alternative for times when you need to be more careful about what you’re sharing, such as sensitive work documents, or family photos. It’s your stuff after all, so why not keep it that way?” Ranger has been an angel investor since 2007 and an entrepreneur since he formed his first business – STASYS – which was sold to selling it to Lockheed Martin in 2005.

You can grab the software before 16th January 2012 and you’ll get 5 year licence to friends and family that you invite between now and the end of this year. After January, the trial will last for one month, and then DADapp will cost £4.99 or less per computer for a year. A free ‘lite’ version is also available, offering core functionality.

My main general concern is that DADapp feels more like it should be a tablet app if it’s really going to go mainstream here.

With so many of hour photos already on Facebook etc, there surely we need a way for our existing close-based content to be made private?

Unfortunately, after a year in operation and still no user figures released, I’m not sure how long DADapp will be around in this form. Especially with that name.