Hameed Khan is the founder and CEO of the face2face social media network. face2face is at the nexus of two of the hottest topics in social media – geolocation and location-based applications. Social Times asked Khan about face2face, how it compares with its competitors and what might be coming up next.
The list of mobile location-based social networks has grown. How does face2face see its place in the location-based universe?
Social networking has become an integral part of all our daily lives. Location-based services have emerged as the next step of progression in social networking so that people can bring their online lives into the real world, but with these services there is still something missing, and this is where face2face has emerged as the next logical evolution.
face2face outlined it’s “nearby” approach to locating friends, and friends of friends, in 2009, in response to users desire for this feature because, first and foremost, they wanted control. face2face lets users find their friends, and friends of friends, when they are nearby while still preserving privacy. We believe that knowing when someone is nearby – which refers to knowing who or what is within walking distance – the users’ privacy can still be protected. We give our users the ability to control who knows when they are nearby through their ability to go “invisible.” This is great for people who want to avoid bosses, exes, and other undesirables – or simply don’t want to broadcast to the world where they are!
It’s important to realize that face2face is not another social network, like Facebook or Twitter. face2face aggregates information from those existing social networks and provides people the ability to know when their friends are nearby so they can meet face to face. The goal behind the app is to bring people together while still protecting their privacy – not broadcasting their location, but better-casting.
Twitter and Facebook have both launched their geolocation functionalities. How do you see face2face “interleaving” with the platforms of these established and (so far) non-competing social networking giants? Or maybe you don’t see that happening.
face2face is entirely different from other location-based apps as it aggregates Facebook and other networks so our users can find their friends across all their networks. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, we’re not overloading status updates with check-ins. Since we’re aggregating social networks, and we’re so heavily focused on the safety and privacy of our users, this is actually going to drive users to us.
For some, managing all their social networks can be a burden, whether it is constantly checking into each application, juggling separate features or worrying about exact location security risks and giving up too much information. We’ve designed the application to build and strengthen personal relationships, the true purpose of social networking. face2face takes these relationships offline and brings our friendships back into the real world. And we’re making it possible for us to make new in-person friends, through the “friends of friends” feature.
Do you have a good crystal ball that shows what advances in geolocation and location-based applications will offer users as new benefits, features and ways of participating in their social networks?
As privacy concerns continue to grow, proximity-based apps will grow in popularity. A proximity-based approach only shares the approximate location of friends or places instead of the exact locations – which answers the demand for control over privacy. Most users do not want to broadcast their specific location to the world for fear of how someone may use that information, and using proximity enables users to be more self-selective. We enable people to maintain complete control of who views their information.
The proximity-based approach also has numerous advantages for advertisers. Companies can attract potential customers by offering deals and updates to those that are nearby without relying on them to “check-in” at their establishment. As the industry progresses, more and more apps will come along that rely on existing behavioral patterns. This ability to reach customers near their stores opens up many possibilities for them that are not currently being addressed. We are very excited about where the industry is heading!
Be sure to read the responses to these same questions given to Social Times by Whrrl’s Jeff Holden.