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While you won’t know what to expect, you’re in for a visual treat every time you use it.

Time for a true confession! I have a new app obsession. I can’t deny it any longer, and I thought perhaps that if I could share with all of you, dear readers, that I might find a way to come to terms with this addiction of mine.

It’s not a game, and no money is changing hands. But I come back to it day after day to see what’s next.


The app is called “Rando” (short for “random”) from the UK-based ustwo design studio, and it is a deceptively simple photo-sharing application that lets you take an anonymous peek into other people’s lives, based on the images that are sent and received. This app is available for other smartphone platforms, but this version was custom-built for Windows Phone 8 devices.

Share and share alike

So how does it work? To use Rando, you press the large red button at the bottom of the app to take a quick snapshot of something that catches your eye. The app frames the images so they appear inside a circle with a large border all around (like a peep hole), which helps when framing your shot. Close-up pictures tend to work best, especially when using a Nokia Lumia since you will capture plenty of detail in the image.

You can then upload that photo using Rando, and it will be sent to another Rando user somewhere in the world – you cannot decide who gets your picture (this is part of the glorious randomness of it all). You do not know where your photo will go, or who will get it – the app does notify you that your Rando was delivered to a specific city, but that’s about all you’ll learn regarding where your picture was sent.

Shortly after that, you will get a Rando sent back to you, from another Rando user – not from the person that received the one you just sent, as far as I can tell. Remember, you must send a Rando to get one in return.

The picture you receive could show anything – a cat, someone’s meal, flowers – whatever that person happens to snap with their Rando app. If you touch the image you received, the picture will flip to the reverse side, and show you a map of when the picture is from. I have received pictures from other Rando users across the United States, Europe and Asia. (The ones from South Korea have been fascinating.)


Make sure you review the app “Settings” to allow Rando to find your location – down to about the city level. You can also choose to receive notifications when new Randos arrive, and you can save the pictures you take to your camera roll.

You can keep the picture you received inside the app, or if you don’t want to save it, give it a long press and you can delete it (little trash can icon). If, for some reason you get a picture that seems somehow “inappropriate” (you know the ones …) you can flag it, too. Happily, I have yet to flag any of the Randos I have received.

Also, there are no social media features in this app – you cannot comment on, or “like” the photos you receive; and there is no way to communicate directly with the person that sent it to you. At first, this seems like it might be an oversight, but the team behind Rando did it this way on purpose. Truly, the images get to do all the talking here.

Pleasure principle

For me, there is something distinctly, almost indescribably wonderful about getting these Randos from other people elsewhere in the world. People find these little moments of joy and delight, and then share them with a complete stranger, just because they can. What more could you need during the course of the day? It only takes a minute or so to use it, but I’m guessing you’ll soon be hooked, too, and you’ll be spending more time than you care to admit sending – and savoring – Randos of your own.

Rando is free to download from the Windows Phone Store. You can learn more about Rando, and what it is all about from the creators of the app in the ustwo blog.