– social software

Are Social Games Evil ?

A few weeks ago I had gone to a networking event in Mt View and met up with a lot of entrepreneurs and likewise hacker oriented people. I also bumped into a friend of mines that I had met up in earlier networking events. He had taken a job at one of the big social game publishers since we had last talked.

I enjoy following the innovation being built on top of social networking platforms like facebook, twitter etc. So, I asked him how it felt to be working for one of these game publishers. He said it was a fun and a busy job, since they have to constantly innovate to keep up with the user’s engagement and also come up with the strategies to monetize them. And he also described a little bit more about the user behavior, demographics etc. However, he made a statement that stood out of all this conversation. He mentioned that he does not feel good about wasting people’s time since most of the social games are built around user engagement and trying to keep them playing for hours.

I think he is right to some extent that these games encourage a lot of unproductive hours for the users. However, you could also look at it from the flip side that these games provide entertainment, happiness etc along with the ability to socialize with other players in the game. As a kid I remember playing Super Mario Brothers and other video games for hours and hours. Could I have been productive doing other things ? Yes. Do I regret playing Mario Brothers for hours and hours back in the days ? No.

In conclusion, I feel the game developer should make his game as engaging as possible and provide them with value like entertainment, social interactivity with fellow users. However, the user’s should be smart enough to know when to pull the plug and do other activities in their life as well. What do you guys feel ? I would love to hear your commentaries.


July 5, 2010 Posted by | facebook application, game | , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Time Discovery Engine


The web has a lot of information on any topic imaginable. All this content could be hidden anywhere from the latest news, blogs, videos to even a 140 character tweet. So, the process to read an article on a given topic of interest become tedious and involves “Searching” and “Filtering” (or jointly discovering) for the right content.

Dan Olsen, the CEO of YourVersion, gave a live demo of the product at the Facebook App Meetup in Palo Alto that lets you “Discover” content based on topics of interest that matter to you. It’s called YourVersion, a real-time discovery engine. He mentioned that the company was bootstrapped since 2007 and they have hardly spent any dollars on coding. The service currently offers a free iPhone App, a Firefox toolbar to check out YourVersion of the web. They will soon be launching an application for Facebook and an IE toolbar.

The service has integration with Facebook using Facebook Connect for authentication. Once you have setup your topics of interest (the service auto-populates the tags for each interest as well), the service will automatically populate the main page with content filtered by categories like news, blogs, webpage’s, twitter, videos, and products.  Each story in the list has an easy to share option via email, twitter, facebook. You can also give a quick thumbs up/down to the story and even bookmark it for future. YourVersion also lets you share your Topics/tags to the world based on privacy settings that can be enabled from the Profile page. The service looks promising and it would be nice to see if they let you integrate RSS feeds as well. Check out the Product Tour on their website.



October 29, 2009 Posted by | web application | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you wanna come shopping with me …. online ?

plurchase_logo400x100Plurchase is a brand new service from Ycombinator that will let you do exactly that. It’s currently in private and will be launching in a few days. Tom Saffell of Plurchase gave a sneek preview of the service at the New Tech Meetup at Palo Alto.

Plurchase let’s consumers shop on eCommerce sites like Amazon, Zappos and get feedback, advice from their friends using a sidebar widget.(They actually display the eCommerce site in an iFrame). You can bookmark products, search for products and share them on Facebook using Facebook Connect. They have also integrated a chat system to get real time advice from your friends. It currently supports only 3 eCommerce sites Amazon, Zappos, and Craigslist respectively.

Tom mentioned that they plan to make money via the affiliate program when a user/friend makes a purchase through their system. A typical payment in Amazon’s affiliate program ranges from 4 to 14%.

I am eagerly looking forward  to see the service go live and see it’s impact on online consumer spending. Leveraging the social graph of facebook(and maybe other newtworks) for online shopping seems like a smart move. You can follow them on twitter @plurchase for updates or read their blog here.

I have attached a few screenshots below



Update: The site is live so go play with it.

October 6, 2009 Posted by | facebook application, web application | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PayyAttention – micropatronage for online content


PayyAttention is another service that offers readers the means to support the blogs, sites, etc that provide them with their online content.  Stephen Farrell gave a demo of their service at the SiliconValleyNewTech meet up in July minutes after Cynthia gave a demo of  Kachingle, a similar service.

They have two models for the content providers to use:-

1. Patronage Model – In this model the content owner places a widget on their site so that the patrons (or readers) can donate some money to the site. It’s voluntary for the patron to disburse any sum of money. PayyAttention pays the entire money to the content provider except the transaction fees unlike Kachingle, which takes a 20% cut.

2. Paid Access Model – In this model, the content owner can charge the reader for providing access to exclusive content, or for removing adds from the post. PayyAttention take’s a cut in the model, which also help’s subsidize the cost for the Patronage model.

As an example GigaOm’s main site can use the Patronage Model, whereas the GigaOm Pro Network could use the Paid Access Model.  I can definitely see a lot of content providers having the ability to use the services of PayyAttention for increasing revenue or even cover basic hosting fees.

They also seem to have an integration with Twitter and provide statistics for shared links etc. To get an insight of their service you can request for an invite by email and also follow them on Twitter.

Demo Video from SiliconValleyNewTech Meetup

Screen Cast from PayyAttention

July 13, 2009 Posted by | web application | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NotableApp – a webdesign feedback tool


Every good product irrespective of their base industry is a result of great feedback. There are tools to review word documents with comments and feedback from each reviewer.  Google Docs makes it even easier as you can share the documents on the web. Similar tools exist for reviewing software code with comments.  However, one was missing for web designing.

I have myself tried to give feedback on website design & layouts or even share my idea visually by using a Photo Editing tool and then emailing the picture to the respective team members.  It did work, but was clumsy and time consuming, and the exchange of feedback via email between multiple members will make it complex to digest the feedback as well. However, in the New Tech Meet up I was delighted to see a the demo of a tool called Notable App, that seems to address most of my issues.

Notable App is a product by Zurb that makes sharing web page design and assimilating feedback really simple.  Hunter from Zurb gave a really good demo of the product. It comes with a firefox plug-in with which you can take a screen shot of the page currently open in the browser and then send/update it to your account in NotableApp.

Some of the notable features:

Screenshot/Annotate: The ability to take a screenshot of the page and then annotate any part of the page with comments.

Workspaces: Create separate workspaces for multiple projects.

Collaborate/Share: The ability to share your workspace with ‘certain’ team members. You can also create a PDF document as well.

Track: You can also track which member has seen the document but is yet to comment on it.

I am sure there are some other features in the tool, but these do the basic job for me. They are currently offering a 2 weeks free preview after which you will have to pay a monthly charge to use their services.






July 9, 2009 Posted by | web application | , | 1 Comment