IRLConnect (as in, ‘in real life connect’) is one of those new social-networks-meets-maps startups, but what sets them apart is some pretty cool integration, a focus on live video and a tantalizing business model based on owning the virtual equivalent of real estate. Today they launch into a public beta after being invite-only since September last year.
The site is bringing together mobile devices and multiple social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, into a very visual platform. As well as integrating YouTube video onto their Google map, they’re pulling in partners including pictures from Mobypicture and live video from Bambuser. It will also pull in geotagged content from YouTube and news alerts from media such as CNN and Reuters.
Launched today at TechCrunch Europe’s Geek ‘n Rolla tech startup event in London, the site is not just a mashup. The business model is that you can buy a location on the map, so for instance, we can own the venue on the map for our Geen’n Rolla conference and brand it how we like.
CEO Frank Schuil reckons “By showing users this is where you are, right here, right now on the planet, we can create true presence that you can’t find on any other social network.” Now of course, the question is, are people going to put their real location on the map? They may not have a choice of course if they absent-mindedly click the ‘allow location’ on their iPhone Twitter application. Users will also be able to show their precise location through Wi-Fi positioning with Loki.
That aside, the advantage is that you can see both Twitter and Facebook friends location on a map and anything they may be uploading at that moment.
IRL Connect is also providing its own geolocation data to provide context to the video through location. Developers can apply for an API key at api.irlconnect.com. The privately funded company is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with an office in China.