Dave Fowler and Zach Garbow.

Dave – MS Computer Engineering UM

Zach – UM undergrad in computer science.

Both worked at IBM, which is how they met.

Zach is IBM’s youngest master inventor.

Heard about Y-combinator – startup training program in CA for web-based companies.  600-1,00 apply every year.  Applied for the program and were accepted.  Both quit their IBM jobs and went to CA and trained.  Now back in Rochester.  Name of the company – Socialbrowse.

Newsweek article – “Meet the next billionaires.”  

Felt the web browser itself should be more social.  The future is the browser and all your browsing should be social.  First product was a Firefox extension.  Rather like Twitter – can follow people whether they’re following you or not.  Realized the product was limited to Firefox users and it required an installation.

New version of Socialbrowse is a mini-browser within the browser.  Sidebar shows a real-time list of what friends are doing.  Can click on link, decide whether you like it and can then share it yourself.  Will get links from people you choose to follow.  Can see what other people have said about a particular link – whole comment thread – and either comment or share from a popup window.  If you add a comment, will broadcast out to people following you. If you want to see all of the links that one person has shared, you can click on the person and see.

Will work with any browser.  Will soon be releasing a link with Facebook.  Can log in with your Google account and have an account with Socialbrowse.  Will be doing the same thing with Facebook.  Can invite Facebook friends to be on Socialbrowse.

Next step is to extend into a social browsing platform.  Anyone can create a browsing platform that is created for different interests.  SocialSound finds music on webpages you visit; Dodgeball is still in beta, but allows you to throw a Dodgeball at someone.

Each Socialbrowse user chooses the apps they want to use.  

(Rajeev wants an app that tracks which restaurants in NYC are being used.  )

Question from Dave and Zach about how we could use the app, what they could create that would help.  Chance suggests an app that pushes information to different audiences – researchers, students, etc.  Pick key items and send.  If you’re trying to stay abreast of the field, the terms are changing every day.  Your peers know what the hot stuff is.  If there are researchers in your field that read something that piques theie interest, can be pushed to researchers in that audience.  

Links can be categoried based on subject area.  A possible educational application could be segmented by class or group.  Can segment the network.  

Could potentially use the platform to do interactive, collaborative work.  Could connect online student communities. Could create an application that shares files, though it gets tricky with copyright issues.

The extension version, which is a Firefox extension, could be theoretically installed and would therefore be available whenever you opened a browser.

This product is still being developed and applications are being written all the time.  Dave and Zach were interested in talking with us to see what applications could be developed for higher education, which would potentially be huge.  I also suggested that library applications could be fabulous, as well. 

This is definitely something to watch…..


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