INTRO, the ambient location app whose claim-to-fame is how it’s angling to become the “LinkedIn” of the social/local people-stalking space, is now increasing its business-oriented focus. With the iOS app‘s most recent update, due to roll out any day (minute?) now, INTRO is adding features that will allow members of groups to connect with each other, even going so far as to shut off networking with people outside of their preferred groups.
The company, which was already focused on professional (not social) networking, is integrating Meetup, Eventbrite, and LinkedIn groups for improved matching in the new app, as well as support for private groups, like membership clubs and entrepreneur networks, for example.
Explains INTRO Labs founder Anthony Erwin, “some people – particularly the power players, maybe’s it’s a top VC in New York, for example – still potentially want to network, but don’t want everyone jumping at them,” he says. “When they add themselves to a private network [in INTRO], they can switch off all other types of people connected to them.” In other words, INTRO will now help the big-time players do the networking on their own terms. That’s not a bad idea, actually.
The interesting thing about the introduction of this private networking feature is how it’s being rolled out. Instead of putting the burden on the user to configure this stuff in the settings, INTRO works with the network in question to automatically add INTRO users to the networks they’re a member of. Although seemingly a simple idea, doing so involves matching the user’s name, LinkedIn profile, email and location to the network’s private membership roster. Once a match has been made, a new section appears in the user’s profile section showing the badges of the networks they belong to.
(Note: if you’re interested in having a network set up for your organization, Anthony says he’s taking requests via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Upon its initial launch, there are already 40 private networks available, mainly in New York and Londdon, which have the potential to reach to some 1.5 million members.
Also new with the app’s update is support for Twitter SSO, and, just in case the ambient location crown goes to another app (if such a crown ever exists), the company is working on an API, too. This could give INTRO more room to grow – for example, companies and organizations building their own apps for events or conferences could integrate ambient location features to connect attendees.
The update isn’t live in the App Store at the time of writing, but should be rolling out soon. In the meantime, you can grab the current version of INTRO here.