Facebook: Israel's Shaker ‘is the next BIG thing’
The winner of TechCrunch Disrupt is quickly becoming the hottest app of the year.
What started out as a college marketing project a year ago has turned into one of the most popular new Facebook applications -- and the hottest web app of the year, snatching a $50,000 prize at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. This is the show where startups that lead the way to future technologies often make their first appearance. And in the case of this year's winner, Shaker, that future looks like it's going to be fun.
In a creation story that parallels Facebook's, says Dr. Yaron Timmor of the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), the five students behind Shaker first proposed their idea at the start of a seminar on marketing. Their concept was to let users virtually meet Facebook members with whom they are not linked as "friends."
"They came in with the idea ... before the application had even been written. Eventually Shaker became a reality, and they opened it up for a test run among students here at the IDC, and it got a great reception," Timor, who directed the seminar, tells ISRAEL21c. "Just like with the creation of Facebook, they began tests in one college and then moved on to others. Now that the application won TechCrunch, they have tens of thousands of users."
Facebook, home of some 800 million users, was designed as an online community of individuals whom you trust enough to "friend." But it's much more limited when it comes to meeting new people. That's where Shaker comes in. Users of the program can see each other in a virtual pub, and make contacts there. Profile pictures and names are displayed as avatars, and you can tap anyone on the virtual shoulder and start a conversation using text entry. It's sort of a Facebook generation update to the old chat room, with cool music playing in the background.
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