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South Coast college student trying to stay connected with girlfriend develops app which is a big hit

Matt Moss created the app Locket to allow him to share pictures, and stay in better connection with his girlfriend Ava Thompson after he graduated from UC Santa Barbara, and moved to the Los Angeles area.

Locket hits one billion (yes, that's billion with a b!) photos shared in a year.

Having a long-distance relationship can be hard.

What’s the best way to stay in touch? UC Santa Barbara Student Matt Moss was facing that problem last year with his girlfriend, Ava Thompson.

"I met my girlfriend Ava while we were both attending UCSB," said Moss. "I graduated last summer, and she was going back to school in the fall, so we were going into a long-distance relationship."

He came up with an idea, a way of keeping them connected. Ross is a computer science graduate. He went to work on his idea, and on her birthday gave her an app he created which would give them a special way of staying in touch.

"Locket is a widget which goes on your home screen, it lets you sends photos back and forth with your closest friends and family," said Moss. "When you access your home screen, the photos will just pop up."

He says there's a nice surprise element to it. You don't have to do anything to access the photos. They are just there on your home screen, when you sign in online. It began as something just the two of them would use, sharing pictures throughout the day.

But, family and friends soon wanted it.

"It started off really simple. The first version I built for Ava took about two weeks to build," said Moss. "But then, what was really great, is because we had such a long time using it... the two of us... I was kind of able to add a bunch of new things."

Then, the social media app Tik-Tok came into the picture. Interest in Locket exploded. Moss made a video, and then others did as well, and interest exploded.

The app his a huge milestone this week. The one billionth photo was shared through it.

Despite it’s booming popularity, for now, it’s free to download and use. It's in the IOS App Store, and the Google Play store.

Moss says they are looking at ways to monetize it, and eventually turn it into a money-making venture. For now, he's trying to refine it.

Moss admits he’s amazed at how Locket has taken off from just an idea a year ago, to something that’s allowed a billion pictures to be shared.
Locket doesn’t just allow users to share photos in real time, it also saved them so you can look back at memories.

All of this came from a UCSB student's simple desire to stay in touch with his girlfriend.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.