In March we wrote about the launch of UpTo, an iPhone app that attempts to build an event-based social network around your calendar using the iPhone calendar API. Whether you use Google Calendars, Outlook or Yahoo, UpTo goes for agnostic and works with whatever calendar you already have synced with your phone to eliminate friction that stands in the way of sharing or adding events while you’re on the go.
The app also includes group sharing functionality so that you can add friends from Facebook, existing contacts, put them into groups, share events from your calendar to UpTo’s feed with a couple of clicks, or direct to your social networks. Users can also chat with friends in realtime, along with adding events to GCal, for example, straight from the app. In its attempt to become a GroupMe or Plancast for your calendar, today, UpTo is adding another big piece to the puzzle with a “Discover” section that makes it simple for users to find and follow Event Streams.
With this new functionality, users will be able to follow streams for every sports team (from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and college football to begin with) as well as a number of curated streams for television and music. To showcase the app’s new capability, UpTo is also featuring a TechCrunch event stream (which you can see an example of in the attached image) that allow readers to see upcoming tech events in their streams, along with product launches, interviews, etc. Users can add these to their calendars with a single tap, so that when we write about an upcoming event or product launch, UpTo adds that event directly to the stream.
The new “Discover” screen is essentially a new section where users can find different streams to follow that, once added, enables events for that stream to show up in their main UpTo feed. As we’ve written before, the startup is all about “the future tense” and focusing on events that are coming up, rather than what’s happening in the present — or the past.
As Rock City Co-founder and CEO Greg Schwartz (also the former CEO/co-founder of Mobatech and a director of business development at Warner Music) tells us, the content we share on Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Path all presents a terrific way for people to share what’s going on in their lives with the people they care about through multimedia. However, even if you happen to see my Foursquare check-in or Instagram shot from an event in realtime, there’s still a bit of serendipity involved in discovery. Most of that content is discovered after it’s already happened.
Using the example of TechCrunch or consuming news or media, Schwartz says that he’s constantly checking into his go-to sources of news for coverage of upcoming product launches and events, but usually that involves making a mental note or manually adding the event to a calendar.
Now, when a reader is following an event in UpTo, they have a chronological view of upcoming events, with those events moving up in their stream as they get closer to their launch date, for example. If a user jumps to September 30 in their stream, they’d be able to see what they have on their calendars for that date, but also what their friends and family are doing, as well as an upcoming app launch or conference.
This makes UpTo a great way to check in with what’s going on with coworkers, friends, and family and see how busy they are (or aren’t) in the next few days and weeks. Maybe you want to set up a meeting with an investor or a potential partner. If they’re using UpTo, you can easily see what they’ve got on their plate in the near future, or browse events you’re interested in — sports or tech are the biggest focuses at this point — along with easily consuming all this info in groups.
Event-sharing, as Plancast has shown, is an uphill battle, but even Mark has said that he thinks UpTo may have a chance to crack the nut. Yet, Schwartz tells us that UpTo has seen over 20,000 downloads in the last 72 hours (since launching its “Discover” section). While that’s not blowing the roof off, it’s at least a sign that users are interested in the functionality UpTo is hawking. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping those users engaged — always a different beast altogether.
Either way, the app is at least worth checking out. Find it here.
Also, a note for Android users: UpTo plans to launch an Android app next month.