Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

BuzzMob Launches Social Events App to Bring People Together

Going to an event like a baseball game or a concert these days means being surrounded by other people peering into their smartphones. So it may be worth using the phones themselves to help break the ice between people who obviously have something in common, if only their location.

That’s not a novel idea, but it may be a well-timed one: A new start-up called BuzzMob today is launching an iPhone app to help users meet and interact with people around them.

Irvine, Calif.-based BuzzMob’s approach is this: Users create “Rings” around geographical areas — from a single building to a three-mile-wide area. That place gets a virtual wall that includes a live stream of posts, tips and pictures from users who are in the location (as validated by GPS) and join the Ring. Rings can be public or password-protected.

There’s no notion of a check-in like with Foursquare, which launched its own events feature last week, but rather a series of ongoing conversations around a place or experience.

BuzzMob doesn’t require real names, and in order to avoid the loneliness problem of similar products like Color, it allows users to view, but not participate in, Rings in other locations.

The eventual goal is that venues and event promoters will create their own Rings — though BuzzMob hasn’t scored any of those deals yet. The self-funded company’s app is also a little bit rough around the edges compared to competitors like Yobongo, LAL and Hot Potato (which was bought by Facebook and subsequently shut down).

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik