|▲ In-app living space for 'Bondee' user (Source: provided by reader)|
Recently, the, 'Bondee,' app is heating up domestic SNS. 'Bondee,' is a social networking app launched by IT startup, 'Metadream,' in October last year, and has recently been leading the trend among the domestic MZ Generation (the combination of Millennials and Genereation Z). Since its release on the Korean market on January 17, ‘Bondee's,’ downloads have reached more than 5 million, and as of February 15, it has topped the list of popular apps on the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store, attracting attention as an app that will lead to the boom of the Metaverse in the future.
'Bondee,' is an app equipped with a social function, and is mainly composed of, 'creating my own avatar,' services such as creating avatars and decorating living spaces. ‘Bondee's,’ users can invite friends to their rooms, visit their friends' rooms, and post notes. All activities inside the app consist of 3D images, and users can choose the appearance of the avatar, including the face shape and hairstyle, as well as the details of the furniture in the avatar's living space. In addition, 'Bondee,' has the function of chatting with other users in real time and does not have unnecessary advertisements, so it is receiving great support from users. A particularly noteworthy feature is that the number of friends was limited to a maximum of 50. Users can apply for a friend through other apps such as Kakao Talk, however, they cannot become a friend unless the other person accepts it. 'Bondee,' stands for, 'closed hideout.'
The, 'Bondee,' app, which introduced lively generated AI, has entered the trend by meeting the needs of the domestic MZ Generation. However, there has recently been controversy over allegations that, "Bondee is a Chinese app and exposes personal information without filtering," in various online communities. 'Bondee,' was created based on the app, 'Jelly,' released in China in January of last year, and, 'Metadream,' the operator of 'Bondee,' acquired intellectual property rights of, 'Truly,' the operator of, 'Jelly,' in May of last year. 'MetaDream,' explained, "We acquired the IP related to, 'Jelly,' maintaining only basic elements such as design, and improved the service to recreate it." However, despite this explanation, netizens responded negatively, saying, "Isn't Metadream simply laundering its nationality?" and "In order to protect personal information, you must withdraw from it." In response to the ongoing controversy, 'Metadream' said, "Our head office is an independent IT company based in Singapore. In the process of acquiring, 'Truly,' some Chinese employees joined, 'Metadream,' but employees from various countries, including South Korea, the United States, and Japan, are creating services. Above all, personal information is used only within the purpose and scope agreed by users to provide the service smoothly, and thus far, not a single case of personal information leakage or theft has occurred."
The, 'Bondee,' app is being singled out not only for personal information, but also for the operation of services in the app. Actual users say that it is difficult to use the service in the app continuously because it consists of short- term content, and that there are many inconveniences because the alarm and app operation are slow. Meanwhile, the number of friends, which is limited to 50, reminds people of, 'Club- house,' released in 2021. 'Club- house,' has gained immense popularity as a closed operation method that allows limited users to sign up for initial subscriptions and allows additional users to sign up only with invitations from existing users. However, the trend was also brief, and the influx of new users slowed down due to the closed operation method, and its popularity quickly decreased, and now it has been forgotten. Many criticize the closeness in similarities of, 'Bondee,' and predict that it will become a, 'Second Club-house.'
'Bondee,' is an app that has raised problems in many ways, but it is of great significance, in that it actively utilized, 'Generated AI,' a global trend, and took the lead in the trend. In fact, Alibaba Group's research initiative, Damo Academy, selected, 'Generated AI,' as one of the 10 trends to pay attention to in the IT industry in 2023. ‘Bondee's,’ performance, which is gaining popularity at home and abroad as a weapon of trendiness, is revitalizing the stagnant metaverse market. However, as it is challenging the area of Generated AI, regulations on morality and stability should be established. Starting with the trend within the MZ Generation of, 'Bondee,' it is hoped that the metaverse market will be able to establish a solid foundation and pioneer new fields.
By Seo Ji-min, cub-reporter email@example.com
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