Netflix’s ‘Clickbait’ is a tense mystery miniseries that dives into the world of online social profiles and the dark impulses that the anonymity they provide brings out in people. When Nick Brewer gets kidnapped — and a viral video of him says that he will die when the video hits 5 million views — netizens from all over the world delve into trying to solve the mystery of where he might be by looking for clues in the video.
People who live in the same city as the victim go one step further and begin to download an app called Geonicking, which lets them track and coordinate all parts of the city that have already been searched. In the end, the app does help in locating Nick’s whereabouts, though not in the way you would expect. So is the Geonicking app real? And if so, how does it work, and what can we use it for? Let’s find out.
Is Geonicking App in Clickbait Real?
The Geonicking app is not real. However, there are many similar apps, and in fact, there exists a whole category of recreational apps that are based on the same concept as the Geonicking app. The clue to this can be found in the show itself when Pia’s tech-savvy young friend Vince explains that he created the Geonicking app by reconfiguring a Chinese geocaching app used to locate and track giant pandas. Though not specific to pandas, various geocaching apps exist and can be used for a variety of location-specific objectives. Most geocaching apps involve looking for a specific location or marking the location of a specific object via a shared digital map.
It is a smart and efficient system to channel the efforts of a large number of people, especially in a daunting situation like the one that Nick’s family and the authorities face. Despite some members of the police force being skeptical of regular citizens potentially contaminating the crime scene if they do find Nick’s body, in the end, it is with the help of Geonicking that Nick is found. Detective Roshan, who closely follows the app, realizes that due to the areas already searched by the app’s users, the authorities can focus on a much smaller radius of search, which eventually leads to Nick’s discovery.
How Does Geonicking Work?
Geonicking, or geocaching, works using GPS technology. The keyword here is geocaching, which is a genuine, global phenomenon with supposedly millions of trackable objects or containers (generally called “caches”) hidden all across the globe. The locations of these caches can be uploaded and shared by those hiding them so that others can then find them.
The Geonicking app is a variation of this in the sense that it allows people to search certain areas and then tag that location as already having been searched. As more and more people use the app in their hunt for Nick, an increasing number of red dots show up on the app’s map, showing users where they don’t need to look since others have already looked there. This greatly helps narrow down the search area.
Geocaching, as stated earlier, is a widely followed recreational activity. The caches, whose locations can be found on the geocaching app, are generally containers of varying sizes that contain a logbook. Users who use the app can see nearby caches on it and then get directions to them, wherein they can sign the logbook, proving that they did, in fact, find the cache. The hiding locations vary greatly, from simple roadside ones to caches placed at the top of mountains or those that require one to cross water bodies.
Geocaching “travel bugs,” which are essentially small dog tags with a tracking number on them, can often be associated with caches and can be dropped from one cache to another, essentially making their way to far-off places from their origins. Such travel bugs have even made their way to space, with one spending time on the International Space Station and another, more recently, seen on NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover! If you’re intrigued by all this, you’d be happy to know that geocaching is also extremely accessible and free to use. Just don’t expect to use it to find kidnapped victims!
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