Archive for the ‘intro’ tag
It’s fair to say that the “ambient location” craze has passed. Several of the mobile apps intent on connecting people with friends and other recommended users nearby are still struggling to find mainstream adoption. Some, like Glancee and Glassmap have sold. Others, like Kismet, have moved into new product categories. And today, the business-focused networking app Intro, is pivoting.
Gone are the “ambient location” features which once alerted you to nearby users based on things like geotagged tweets or check-ins. With the new version, the company has shifted the focus solely to making one-to-one introductions between members of LinkedIn or Meetup groups.
Explains co-founder Anthony Erwin, the decision to make this switch came from observations of user behavior. The best and most powerful introductions the app enabled were those where the members were each in the same group already. 90 percent of the time when an intro was created and members would connect, they cited being in the same group as the reason, he says.
“I think what’s happened in this space, is because it’s dealing with connecting strangers – people are kind of wary of that,” says Erwin. “If you’re going to create connections that work, they’re going to have to be very familiar; almost not like strangers, in a way.”
Users told him that when they were shown other group members, those people didn’t feel like random strangers.
Intro has always been more sensitive to the potentially creepy nature of ambient location apps, having previously introduced features that would allow users to switch of networking with those not outside of a set of preferred groups, for instance. The revamped version of the app is something of an extension of that earlier concept more than it is a hard pivot to an entirely new vertical.
In the updated application, available now on iOS and for Android in a few weeks time (currently the Android app is the older version of Intro), you’ll still be shown other group members who are nearby, but now the app take a wider view of your location. It begins by offering you connections across your city, as opposed to at your exact location. You can then quickly swipe through the suggestions to connect or reject the proposed connections.
However, when there is an event or other congregation of members in the same location, the app’s algorithm will immediately adjust to sort its recommendations by degrees of separation and other signals which would indicate closer ties with that user. These same signals come into play any time you’re sorting through connections, but they’re even more critical when there’s a crowd.
In addition to finding users who are in your same LinkedIn and Meetup groups, the updated service also now lets group administrators import their member list to Intro, then use an online web dashboard to view demographic data or to create and send out messages and alerts to users, such as meeting details. Recipients can then add these event reminders to their iOS calendar.
During testing and in the past few days when the app quietly relaunched, hundreds of group admins have claimed their groups on the app, and thousands of their members have begun networking. Groups where the admin has taken control include the NY Tech Meetup group, Founders Network, the Lean Six Sigma group, Soho House, the Silicon Roundabout group, the U.S. Realtors Association, the Pharmaceutical Association of America, a Red Cross group for frontline aid workers, and others.
Groups are free for members and admins of those with up to 100 members. Afterwards, pricing ranges from $10/month to $100/month, depending on the number of members. Around 30 percent of the group admins are now paying users, and the average price falls around $49/month.
The updated Intro app is available here in the iTunes App Store. The Android version will be updated soon.
We spent last week learning about the basics of 3D modeling using an application called Rhino 3D. Here’s the complete guide that will teach you everything you need to know to get started. More »
This week we’ve been learning 3D modeling with Rhino 3D. Today we’re taking a look at object selection and transposition. More »
Nintendo unveiled the tablet-centric Wii U at last year’s E3. At the time the company was clear that it was a working name. A report earlier this year stated that Nintendo was exploring other options. E3 kicks off next week and it seems increasingly likely that Nintendo is sticking with the unusual moniker.
First off, Nintendo just launched a Wii U Facebook campaign complete with an intro video with Reggie Fils-Aime welcoming guests to the Wii U page. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the Wii U logo is now on Nintendo’s press site.
The Wii U name is a tad strange, but in retrospect, so is Wii. The next-gen system itself is still a bit of a mystery. Nintendo had highly scripted demos available for playing at its introduction at last year’s E3. It was the best thing at the show last year. But Nintendo no doubt hit the fast-forward button on the system’s evolutionary growth cycle; expect the Wii U shown at this year’s E3 to be a mature device.
Even with a better name, and with that, a better brand, the Wii U will still have an uphill battle to fight. Microsoft and Sony are clearly racing to a future where a home entertainment system is defined by its media streaming capability more so than its games. Nintendo on the other hand seems to be building just a gaming system. With E3 kicking off next Monday Nintendo better bring the goods. They need a good showing to kick off the Wii U — or whatever it’s called.
We loved the technology we discovered at DEMO this week, but some of our favorite memories had more to do with half-naked, dancing entrepreneurs and role-playing games.
With an intro like that, you can’t not watch this clip:
Check out all the companies in detail and learn who won the semi-annual startup competition at the official home of all things DEMO Spring 2012.
Filed under: video
It’s turning into a royal rumble at SXSW — the sheer number of location-based networking apps hoping to emerge from the conference as this year’s breakout hit is nearly overwhelming. What’s worse, they’re often so similar in nature, so it’s hard to discern the advantages of one over another. They can’t all be winners.
Is the app for business networking or making new friends? Does it use check-in data from other networks like Facebook and Foursquare, or does it just connect you with your friends? How does the app know who’s nearby? Does it kill your battery?
Below, we’ve rounded up all the hottest apps in the newly-hot, location-based networking space, so you can fill up your phone for SXSW…and beyond.
To be clear, the idea for location-based social networking is hardly a new one. Last fall, we dove into this still-emerging trend, highlighting new apps like Sonar and Banjo, plus last year’s SXSW darling, the group chatting app Yobongo, as well as the micro-networking app LoKast, the business-focused Mingle, and the now-shuttered Holler.
While some of those same apps are still around, hoping to win the love of SXSW attendees, they’re now joined by a legion of others that have the same goal.
Desperate for a cheat sheet to the forthcoming app battle? So were we. While the purpose of this post is to feature mobile apps, there are other services available to help SXSW attendees connect. You may want to also check out Meeteor, for example, which just launched an online networking site for SXSW attendees. Or you can track your meetings using Hashable. And of course, there’s always Twitter and Foursquare.
But now, here are the new app contenders:
Let’s start with the buzziest of the bunch: Highlight has been getting a lot of attention pre-SXSW, especially from members of the tech scene. The app uses your Facebook profile to match you up with nearby friends who share your interests. Highlight has a very cool and simple design, but it also seems to be moving toward becoming a personal, social CRM system that helps you remember people’s names and when you met them, as well as just suggesting nearby people you may like.
Pros: Good for Facebook users, making social connections; the team acknowledges that women have safety/privacy concerns with these apps and are working to address that; great design.
Cons: May drain your battery until improvements are made; those “friends of friends” notifications will blow up your phone at SXSW; relying on Facebook data may limit usefulness for some
Works On: iPhone
Another new contender, Glancee is most like Highlight, in that it also uses your Facebook profile data and interests to help you discover nearby users. But unlike Highlight, it doesn’t display people’s exact location on a map, only giving a general distance (e.g. “5 miles from you”). People are ranked by distance and common interests. On the app’s homescreen, it summarizes how many things you have in common – possible conversation starters, I suppose. You can then reach out to those suggested folks using the app’s built-in chat function. And it has a new update coming tomorrow.
Pros: Good for Facebook users, making social connections; goes easy on the push notifications which helps conserve battery life; works on iPhone & Android
Cons: Goes easy on the notifications – you might miss someone!; relying on Facebook data may limit usefulness for some
Works On: iPhone, Android, Facebook
Banjo has been around for a bit, but a recent update has given the app enough new polish to see it achieve “featured” status in the iTunes App Store. The best part about Banjo is that it doesn’t have a desolate first-launch experience – that is to say, even if none of your friends use the app, Banjo may still prove useful. Instead of only relying on Facebook, Banjo also taps into data from Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and more, and shows you where people are and what they’re saying/doing, based on their check-ins or geotagged tweets. The app also lets you know when your actual friends are nearby, even if they’re not on Banjo.
Pros: Good for finding nearby friends, or just seeing what people around you are saying and doing; finds a lot more people because of its use of multiple social networks; works cross-platform
Cons: People nearby are ranked by distance, not common interests or shared connections; notifications have been hit-or-miss – sometimes arrived too late to meet up with person in question; relies on check-in/geotagged data, as opposed to ambient connections
Works On: iPhone, Android, Web
Just launched today, INTRO is meant for business, not social, networking. The app is built on top of LinkedIn, and includes messaging, privacy features and a premium “teleport” option that lets you virtually network with others anywhere in the world. In order not to limit itself only to INTRO users, the app also uses Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare data to display other nearby users.
Pros: Great for business networking/making new LinkedIn connections; privacy angle – you have to accept a connection request before people can message you; shows you social connections too; doesn’t drain battery as much;
Cons: Only on iPhone at launch; have to pay for some features in the future;
Works On: iPhone (Android in a month)
Sonar, updated just in time for SXSW, has moved away from focusing on people checked into particular venues and now focuses more on finding recommended people nearby. The app separates your nearby friends from a section of nearby “relevant” people, who are ranked based on how many friends you have in common. Like Banjo, the app finds nearby users based on their check-ins in (or geotags) on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, but fills out user profiles with data that also includes LinkedIn info. Also, like most others in the space, Sonar can alert you when friends are nearby.
Pros: Heavy emphasis on the ranking technology helps you more easily find the people you want to know; profiles include lots of user data and map locations; just arrived on Android in beta
Cons: Relies on check-in/geotagged data, as opposed to ambient connections; iPhone updates are still shipping throughout SXSW
Works On: iPhone and Android (beta only)
This app will be helpful to those at SXSW who are actually there to attend panels and presentations, not just parties. Why? Because EchoEcho can map your friends indoors, too.
The app uses GPS outside then switches to Wi-Fi when you head indoors, using special tech from the startup WifiSlam to map out the interior of the buildings
Pros: Indoor location, obviously; also the privacy angle – the app lets you adjust your visibility on a friend-by-friend basis; doesn’t drain battery; cross-platform support
Cons: Only works with other EchoEcho users;
Works On: iPhone, Android, Nokia (Symbian), BlackBerry, Windows Phone
Launching just in time for SXSW, Kismet finds nearby people using ambient location data like Highlight and Glancee, but also finds them using active check-in data like Sonar. The app lets you create “pop up events,” too, which can then be discovered by other app users who are nearby (think “happy hour drinks,” “SXSW panel on social apps,” etc.). Nearby people are ranked based on degrees of separation, which extends beyond mutual friends. Kismet is also one of the few that lets you check-in to both Foursquare and Facebook, saving you that extra step.
Pros: Uses active check-ins and ambient location to maximize list of connections; ranks users by how you’re connected; lets you check in to Facebook, Foursquare
Cons: iPhone only at launch
Works On: iPhone
Glassmap is more of a “Find My Friends” type of service, except one that works cross-platform (iPhone & Android). Built on top of Facebook, Glassmap finds your Facebook friends who are on Glassmap and plots their location in real-time on the map. You can selectively enable or disable who can see your current location, and the app makes smart use of server technology to preserve battery life.
Pros: A great (free) friend and family locator service for Facebook users; preserves battery life; cross-platform
Cons: Only uses Facebook to find people you are friends with, doesn’t help you find people you don’t know
Works On: iPhone and Android
Not to be confused with INTRO, the business-focused app, ntro is for meeting people who share your interests. You can either enter in these interests manually, or have them imported from Facebook. The difference with ntro (which is almost like the social version of INTRO, surprisingly!), is that you can filter through search results by interests and set your own “top” interests very narrowly. (e.g., not just “music” but a name of a band). Ntro also allows you to message users who share interests in common with you.
Pros: Great for Facebook users, making social connections; cross-platform
Cons: DOESN’T WORK IN AUSTIN! (ntro works in S.F., L.A. and plans to roll out to N.Y., Chicago, D.C. and Boston) So maybe it shouldn’t be included in this list, but it’s so similar to others, it was hard to leave out.
Works On: iPhone and Android
Mingle is most similar to INTRO, in that its focus is on business networking. You join Mingle using either your LinkedIn account, Facebook account, or you can sign up directly. It will then show you who’s nearby and available for networking using your phone’s GPS. Like INTRO, you can specify your occupation and who you want to meet, but you can also post that “intro” to Facebook, if you choose. The key difference between Mingle and INTRO, however, is that users are ranked by proximity alone on Mingle – there isn’t an indication of the friends or friends of friends you may have in common.
Pros: Multiple ways to log in; great for business networking; cross-platform
Cons: Doesn’t track check-ins on other services like Twitter and Foursquare; doesn’t show you how you’re connected with others
Works On: iPhone and Android
Meant to be more of a replacement for business cards than anything, CardFlick also connects with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for sign in purposes, or you can create your own account. You can then customize your card with your personal info and a theme of your choice from top designers. The location-based element comes into play when you go to the “flick” screen – this area shows you nearby users you can “flick” your card to. And if they’re not on CardFlick, you can just email them your card instead. Meanwhile, CardFlick keeps track of all your contacts in the cloud.
Pros: Great for business networking (and for when you run out of biz cards!); easy to use; doesn’t drain battery
Cons: Not really for finding nearby people to network with, only facilitates post-networking biz card sharing; Android app is in private beta
There are some other apps that are worth mentioning, but may not be fighting for homescreen space at SXSW, depending on their launch time frames.
12. Discover Circle
One is the very interesting Discover Circle, from the YC-back startup LikeALittle (LAL). Launching in a few weeks, the invite-only app looks beautiful, but will be focused on connecting you with groups of people (like school friends, fans of a particular TV show, etc.). That’s a different take than most location apps, which will help it stand out.
Aiming to launch this week, Cult will allow users to post photos and text all around SXSW and beyond. Cult provides locations with their own feed – a stream of text and photos for that venue. The database is already filled with 10 million places and 100 “cults” in cities around the world. For example, a party at SXSW may have a “cult” but so would a store like Starbucks. When you post to the Starbucks cult in one location, you are then connected to a stream of other Starbucks’ locations worldwide. As you join Cults, these are saved on your profile for later viewing.
If you’re at all interested in this space, you have to read what Robert Scoble has blogged recently. He has been tracking this space with in-depth posts on why he thinks Highlight and Glancee will be the two hottest apps at SXSW, and especially why Highlight may be worth the investment.
[Top image originally via MickFoley.com.]
Just when you thought this space couldn’t get any more saturated, yet another ambient location app throws its hat into the ring as SXSW prepares to kick off. Introducing INTRO. But wait, before you groan “enough already!“, you should know that INTRO at least has a unique take on the location-based social introductions market. Unlike the majority of this year’s crop of location-based networking apps, INTRO’s angle is business introductions. Built on top of LinkedIn, the app lets you specify who you’re looking to meet by both industry and profession, then enables you to make that connection.
The app shares a lot in common with others in this newly-hot space, but offers a unique selection of features which the company hopes will give it life beyond the social blowout that is SXSW.
“SXSW is a great place for us to launch, but the social side of things always gets the biggest hype there,” explains INTRO co-founder Anthony Erwin, “but while we’re incredibly useful for events and conferences – and we’ll be great at SXSW – we’re more interested in promoting the side of us that’s really useful for startups, which is to specify exactly who you’re looking for.”
Like competitors Highlight and Glancee, INTRO runs in the background, alerting you to people nearby who you may want to meet. But unlike most of the competition, INTRO requires that you sign into the app using your LinkedIn account. The entire experience here is built on LinkedIn – the app uses your LinkedIn profile data to determine what industry you’re in, and suggest possible matches nearby.
However, once signed up, you can also connect your social networking accounts from Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, so you’re not limited to seeing only those who are on INTRO’s network. In this way, the app is like Sonar or Banjo, tracking check-ins and geo-tagged tweets to see who’s nearby. These are included in a separate section of the app.
To get started with INTRO, you first configure a user profile which allows you to facilitate business introductions. This makes the app more of a competitor to something like the business-focused Mingle, for example. But Mingle lacks the “social proof” provided by INTRO – that is, INTRO tells you how many connections/friends you have in common on social networks, which helps when you’re trying to reach out to people you don’t know.
In your profile, you specify your job title, as well as the titles of others you want to meet. This is all done using a smart tagging system – no typing needed. (Hooray!) On your profile, where it reads “I am in the _______ scene and work as a _________” you can tap on the fields to switch industries (e.g. “Tech,” “Media,” “Marketing/PR, etc.”) and title (e.g. “Journalist/Blogger,” “Director/Founder,” “Architect,” etc.)
You then do the same for the “Looking to Meet” section below, optionally specifying the industry and/or the job title you’re in search of. When INTRO finds possible connections, you can view all their data, including name, bio, distance, tweets, what they have in common with you and who you both know.
INTRO also has a cool “teleport” feature that lets you virtually travel to any place you want in order to network. So if you can’t actually attend SXSW, you can still reach out to those who are there. This feature is free if you invite 3 friends to INTRO, but will be a premium offering in the future.
Because the app is meant for business, not dating or social networking, there’s a layer of privacy to the experience, too.
“Privacy is actually a unique feature, which seems completely nuts to me,” Erwin laughs. “Or maybe I’m just getting old.”
You can reach out to others using INTRO, but unless they accept your invite to connect, you can’t message them in the app, he explains.
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – INTRO uses proprietary server-side technology that aims to increase the battery life of location-based apps. While the details are being guarded, Erwin’s explanation of how the app knows when to smartly shut off the phone’s GPS, for example, sounds a lot like what the social tracker Glassmap was up to.
The company, co-founded by Anthony Erwin and Mike Small, is the newest member of Dogpatch Labs in NYC. Both founders have previous entrepreneurial experience, specifically with dating service StreetSpark, and have worked with location technologies for the past two years. The London- and N.Y.-based team, which also includes three developers, came together five months ago to create INTRO.
INTRO is currently bootstrapping, but is planning on raising seed funding soon.
The app is available on the iPhone here, and the Android version will launch in about a month, with Windows Phone to follow.
Apple took more than one million preorders for the iPhone 4S during the first 24 hours the device was available online, the company announced on Monday. This tops the company’s previous single-day preorder record of 600,000, a title held by the current iPhone 4. The iPhone 4S itself is still not in consumer hands, though—preorders will go out to customers on Friday, October 14, the same day the iPhone 4S will be available in retail stores.
It hasn’t even been a week since Apple announced the existence of the iPhone 4S after months of speculation over whether the company would release a radically redesigned “iPhone 5″ or not. As such, the intro of the iPhone 4S—which looks the same as an iPhone 4 but has a faster processor, better camera, and the “intelligent assistant” Siri—was a disappointment for some who were expecting some new eye candy along with updated specs.
That disappointment seemed to translate into pessimistic expectations for the iPhone 4S, but as is often the case, the real world’s reaction seems to have diverged from that of the geek world. As noted by Macworld, Apple, AT&T, and Verizon all exhausted their supplies of preorder iPhone 4Ss near the end of Friday, with AT&T boasting that it sold 200,000 devices within the first 12 hours of availability. (Sprint also reported that it sold out of the 16GB version of the iPhone 4S.)
If you’re interested in obtaining an iPhone 4S on launch day, it now looks like your best bet is to do the old waiting in line schtick at an Apple retail store. Just keep your fingers crossed for nice weather (there sure won’t be any in Chicago that day) and a minimal instance of homeless people asking you for cigarettes while you wait.
The agency La Comunidad has two offices — one in Miami and one in Buenos Aires. So to celebrate their 10th anniversary, they’re sending two creatives to meet halfway between the offices — which apparently, is somewhere in the Amazon jungle.
Here’s the intro video:
I’m guessing the result will be some combination of “Survivor,” “Deliverance,” and quite possibly, “The Blue Lagoon.”