Can Highlight be our sixth sense? New version is first, slow step

It's hard to listen to Paul Davison and not get swept up in his enthusiasm, hard not to want to buy into his grand vision for the app his small company built.

Davison is the high-energy CEO of Highlight, a people discovery app for iPhone that came out last January, and that was widely predicted to start its world domination tour at the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive festival in much the same way that Twitter did in 2007 and Foursquare did in 2009.

Looking back, it's clear that much of the reason so many people expected so … Read more

Facebook's aggressive approach to solving its mobile problem

Facebook knows mobile is its Achilles' heel, but I didn't expect the company to take such aggressive actions to solve its mobile problem.

The social network admitted to the weakness earlier this month when it amended its IPO filing. "If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected," the company explained in its amended S1.

Facebook … Read more

Facebook acquires 'social discovery' service Glancee

Just about a month after scooping up mobile photo-sharing app Instagram for approximately $1 billion, Facebook has further fattened its mobile portfolio by acquiring Glancee, a location-based, "social discovery" app designed to connect you with friends in the real world.

A notice on Glancee's Web site today reads:

We started Glancee in 2010 with the goal of bringing together the best of your physical and digital worlds. We wanted to make it easy to discover the hidden connections around you, and to meet interesting people. Since then Glancee has connected thousands of people, empowering serendipity and pioneering … Read more

Highlight vs. Glancee at SXSW: Rolling with the serendipity

AUSTIN, Texas--When Chris Connolly sat down in his seat on the "Nerd Bird," the nonstop flight here from Oakland, Calif., to get to the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, he had no idea that a new social discovery app was about to play a role in boosting his business prospects.

Connolly, the head of design at Foodspotting, had recently signed up for Highlight, a tool that helps identify potential new social matches by virtue of proximity and shared Facebook friends and interests. And now, as he settled in for the four-hour flight, his seatmate leaned over and said, &… Read more

Glancee takes up arms in the SXSW people discovery app wars

AUSTIN, Texas--Walking around the halls at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival here this week, it seems that almost everyone is looking at their phones. But while plenty are reading the latest tweets, checking in on Foursquare, or updating their friends through GroupMe, there's a whole new category of services that has captured people's attention.

Known as people discovery apps, these tools are helping SXSW attendees make new connections. Tied to users' locations, the apps identify where they are and look for matches with others nearby, mainly by identifying common friends or interests on Facebook.

Leading the pack … Read more

Twenty thousand reasons to go to SXSW

More than 20,000 people will roll into Austin, Texas, this week for the annual South by Southwest Interactive festival. The question is, besides copious amounts of free beer and barbecue, why are all those people--a broad mix of marketers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and social media junkies--showing up?

Over the years, SXSW has gotten bigger and has morphed from being an insular technology conference with a tight community of regular attendees to a mainstream event that appeals to everyone from those SXSW veterans to thousands of first-timers who want to get in on the action.

With that many people on hand … Read more

Sonar brings iOS style social discovery to Android

Sonar is riding a wave of social discovery apps that includes Banjo, Glancee and Highlight, but it isn't a newcomer. The New York based startup has made the rounds on iOS for the better part of a year, but today it's available in beta on Android to a handful of lucky readers.

Like others in the field, Sonar enables you to make meaningful connections with people around you -- people you wouldn't otherwise have known. It works by aggregating geolocation data across social networks and then creating relational correlations among individuals based on shared connections. So if … Read more

Startup Banjo looks to help you connect with folks in real world

Imagine this scenario: You're on a business trip in another city, where you just wrapped up your last meeting of the day in a coffee shop. Since you're a proper digital nomad, you fire off a tweet announcing that you're done for the day and ready to grab a drink.

Meanwhile, an old friend from college updates his Facebook status to say he's just arrived at a bar (a few blocks away) where he's meeting friends. Like your tweet, his status is embedded with a geographic tag (geotag), signaling the location of the message. If … Read more