Remotely Close

Quick Look: Remotely Close is a social media service that lets you share photos and videos with family members using an Android app and the Remotely Close Roku channel. The service appears to be a work in progress - the Remotely Close website still says "coming soon" and the app's voice-recording and location sharing features weren't functional during my testing. Image and video sharing, however, were functional.

To use Remotely Close, you will need to install the Remotely Close Android app on your mobile device and establish a free account from within the app. As part of the registration, you will have to accept Terms of Use that include a lot of disclaimers about not using the service "as a substitute for professional healthcare judgement, direct medical supervision or emergency intervention," and so on. This is explained by the fact that Remotely Close is a service of Newyu, Inc., a health information systems company. The terms of use seem to be boiler plate terms that have yet to be updated for this non-medical app. But the warnings still apply... if Grandpa shares a photo of his gouty big toe, you're better off telling him to see a doctor than you are doing your own diagnosis looking at the image on your Roku.

Once you've established a Remotely Close account, you can link your Roku by launching the Remotely Close Roku channel and entering the linking code in the mobile app under the "Add a Device" setting. If you want to share with others, do so using the "Add a Member" setting.

To share media, select photos and videos on your mobile device or use the device's camera to capture new media. You can also add comments to the media if you like, then upload the media to the cloud, where the images and videos will be visible to "family" members linked to your account. They can view shared media and comments, and like and favorite shared media, when they are logged into the Remotely Close Roku channel or mobile app.

Some cautions about using this service: As noted above, the terms of use are obviously intended for a different app, as is the privacy policy. Ownership of uploaded media is not mentioned, and the privacy policy specifically states that the developer "cannot and [does] not guarantee that your information will not be viewed by unauthorized persons." Be cautious about what you upload... but you should be cautious when uploading personal media to any cloud service.

Also, the website has contact information, but no direct means of receiving technical support. More importantly, there is no method for recovering a lost password or for deleting an account. Signing up doesn't even require validation of an email address; I never received an email asking me to verify my address or confirming that an account was created.

All things considered, Remotely Close looks like it will eventually be a good app for sharing photos and video among family members who don't use other social media such as Facebook or Instagram, but users should use caution in creating accounts and uploading media until a real privacy policy is in place and features such as email validation, account deletion, and password recovery are in place. If you want to test out the app in the meantime, I recommend using a secondary email account and being extra cautious about what you upload.

-- Information is current as of November 9, 2017

Developer's Channel Description: Remotely Close connects generations of your family through mobile applications and TV-based platforms to share messages, videos, photos, and other activities with your loved ones.

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DEVELOPER: Newyu, Inc.

FEES: None

Remotely Close Website

Remotely Close on Roku
Remotely Close on Roku
Remotely Close on Roku
Remotely Close on Roku