Looks like Facebook is on a tear over the past week. Sure, no one at Facebook can really talk about the stuff that goes on behind the scene at the social network, but over the past few days, they’ve been making some definite waves that seems to be surely affecting the way people view the service and potentially their stock price. First, it was Facebook bolstering its photo capability with a monumental acquisition of leading photo service Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Then, Facebook announced perhaps a life-saving and historic event–promoting being an organ donor. And now, it’s news that Facebook is moving its check-in feature beyond the traditional sense and making it more about introducing you to new people. Just how does the company plan on making this happen? By acquiring proximity app service Glancee.
Considered one of the latest products that could have been a “star” at this year’s South by Southwest, Glancee emerged onto the scene with some enormous potential, but also within a crowded marketplace. A couple months ago, there were nearly a dozen different of these so-called proximity applications, from market leader Highlight to others like Sonar, Banjo, Intro, EchoEcho, and several others, Glancee is probably the first such application to see an exit. Available for both iPhone and Android devices, Glancee states that it “makes it fun and safe to discover people nearby who share friends and interests with you.” Perhaps it was Glancee’s direct integration with Facebook that caused it to be appealing for an acquisition, since Glancee intended to leverage Facebook data to help you find people of interest instead of just showing you who is around you–it’s giving you some additional relevancy in helping you grow your social network.
Have you ever had to make a decision about something, but needed to talk it through with someone who could help influence your actions? We all need that “trusted” source in order to help us figure out what we want to do in our lives. In a sense, we need that mentorship to make us feel better about our decisions. But often we’re not able to find that right person who can help guide us to that right decision or maybe have an impromptu office hour session. And this is where Clarity comes into play.
Started by Dan Martell, a serial entrepreneur who recently was a co-founder of Flowtown, Clarity is aimed at helping people connect easily with those who need them the most. Using the most common device probably found on an individual, Clarity isn’t an application that you can download. No, it’s a true mobile HTML application that enables users to simply look up whoever they want, set up a scheduled meeting, and then dial them to talk about whatever they want. Sure, you might think that Clarity is just a fancy version of your telephone, but it’s so much more and it can help you find the right person you want to chat with. Say you’re having a problem trying to figure out your marketing strategy for your startup, or you’re looking to get advice on going after potential investors, or maybe you’re debating internally about whether you should make that leap of faith and start your own company. These, among others, are things that people most likely want to talk it through with someone else–someone who has been through it all, win or lose, and has the experience to help you make the decision.
What’s the hottest new place in town? Can you tell me where the coolest party is taking place? These are probably some of the questions you might be asking yourself when you’re walking around town after work or just need to find a place to chill and unwind. Sure, you could use a service like Foursquare or perhaps Path to find out where your friends are, but that only tells you where they are at the moment–there’s no information about the vibe, the crowd, what people think of the venue, etc. Often times, you’re looking for some real-time information about a particular place or venue to help “justify” why you should make an appearance.
Enter Echoer. This proximity application is the latest evolution of what location-based check-ins and GPS technology have created and is simply designed to share with you people’s thoughts and experiences provided in the real-time stream via social data. Simply put, you can use the app to check out all the buzz that’s happening around you. It’s that simple. Think of it a little bit like Highlight meets Yelp but with a much faster curation of data. What it allows you to do is share your most relevant thoughts, events, and discoveries around you. If you happen to be wandering through a city like San Francisco during any given summer night, you might find that there’s lots of talk happening at nearby AT&T Park because of the San Francisco Giants, or that there’s lots of buzz happening at the Metreon Center because of a new movie, or maybe at a nearby hotel or bar to celebrate the launch of a new startup. By simply tapping on a particular venue on the map, you should be able to pull up thoughts, photos, and other content. Once there, you can either “echo” what others are saying, thereby amplifying their message or contribute your own.
It was probably about time for Path to do it. Today, the private social network app announced that its Android app users can update their app to get a pretty cool feature on there.
That’s right, Path has now released to the world lenses to help make photos you share on the app much more stylized and glamorous. This might not seem like it’s jaw-dropping new for most people, especially the 30 million original users of the service, but this is in fact a big deal for those with Android devices. Why? Because we never had it before! Over the past few months, users like myself have been forced to snap photos using the default camera app and apply whatever limited filters existed. Sure, I could have used a vignette, distortion, depth of field or any other filter assortment, but it would have been another step removed from what I wanted to do…simply post a photo taken on Path and shared exclusively on the network. Now that’s all changed with Path giving what many people on Android have been clamoring over–we want to be able to do cool photos on Path like our iPhone brethren!
Riding in an Uber car should not be accessible only to those who happen to have an Android or iPhone device. Sure, if you had signed up weeks ago and you didn’t have a phone that had access to the application, the only way you could have ridden in an Uber is if you decided to text your address/location to them (UBR-CAB). This seemed a bit crude, but made it a bit more accessible to those who didn’t want to splurge to pay money for a smartphone. But how often have we forgot that you could text to reserve an Uber? I bet you probably didn’t know about it until I mentioned it in this post, huh? Did you know that before Twitter had any mobile apps, you could text your status updates in using 40400? You can probably still do that now, but the point is that you probably didn’t do it frequently or knew about it at all.
Uber probably realizes this dilemma and understands that they need to make their service more accessible to those who might not have an iOS or Android device in order to use the service. That’s why, starting today, they’re “excited to announce” a brand new feature to the Uber service–a mobile-optimized version that will work perfectly for all phones. This brand new site will work perfectly for those with Blackberry, Windows Phone, Symbian, and other mobile platforms. All you need to do is go to m.uber.com, and you will get a similar experience as you would if you had been using their iPhone or Android app.