Social timelines are going mainstream (see AOL/Bebo), but startups are pushing them to the next level. Today, Lifeblob, the Indian startup working on ways for you to visualize your life on the net, is introducing a refreshed version of its social timeline creation tool. With it, you can easily patch together a visual representation of your life’s most memorable moments by timestamping certain events and enriching them with photos, text and videos. The end result can easily be shared on a variety of social services, or embedded into any blog or web page (example below).
It’s an invite-only service for now, but we have an unlimited amount of invite codes for you. It’s simply techcrunch and you can use it to sign up here.
Lifeblob is one of the investments of SeedFund, the Google-backed VC fund who actively looks for early-stage financing deals within the Indian startup community. The company raised its first round of financing of approximately $1 million from the fund in August 2008. It employs only 4 people for now and its business model is centered around advertising – which it will start rolling out after its general launch – and premium services (like branded timelines, etc.)
Public timelines on Lifeblob can be searched by other people with ease. If they’re not protected, anyone is able to both view and share the “lifeblobs” with the rest of the world (thanks to an integration with SocialTwist’s Tell-a-Friend service). Privacy settings allow your updates to be private or publicly visible, or for your friends only. You can also opt not to be listed in the Lifeblob directory at all, while still getting a shareable dedicated URL for your timeline (here’s an example for Michael Arrington).
Lifeblob isn’t so much about the concept of lifestreaming as it is about being able to visualize moments in a person’s life, while showing relations to other people whose moments intersect with theirs. Those intersections can take the form of people, places, events, associated tags, and so on. Each intersection shows up as a stacked tile, which launches the associated timeline when clicked on. For example, if Mike Arrington met up with Gary Vaynerchuk, Loren Feldman, and David Recordon after a conference (here’s the photographic evidence that this did indeed happen) and all of them would have indicated this in their timelines or been tagged, you’d get a timeline that shows that connection inside the interface and lets you explore more relations and other people’s lifeblobs simply by clicking around a bit.
It also works as a marketing vehicle. For instance, here is a timeline of all of Woody Allen’s movies, with connections to timelines for actors who have appeared in his movies. The UI is nice, but if you click any of the frames in the embed above with a screen resolution lower than 1024×768, you’ll immediately notice it still needs quite a bit of fine-tuning, as you can’t resize it properly and the menu items are all over the place. That said, it’s a pretty cool service reminiscent of tools like Dipity and Kronomy but with a more social approach. Definitely a tool I’d consider using to recap events, which I think it is most suited for. Turning your whole life into a lifeblob seems like a whole lot of work, unless you could auto-update from other services (right now, only Picasa is supported).
Here’s a screencast on how it works: