Before Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, he launched Facemash, a short-lived HotOrNot-like site that almost got him kicked out of Harvard. Now Facemash is back as a Facebook app called ULiken. Written by two developers in New Jersey , Sam Bensalem (22) and Mike Woods (23), ULiken was inspired by Facemash—in particular from parts of Zuckerberg’s diary that came out during the UConnect lawsuit that describes how he came up with the idea of Facemash. Excerpt (full journal entry embedded below):
9:48pm.I’m a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it’s not even 10pm and it’s a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland facebook is open on my computer desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive. It’s not such a great idea and probably not even funny, but Billy comes up with the idea of comparing two people from the facebook, and only sometimes putting a farm animal in there. Good call Mr. Olson! I think he’s onto something.
11:09pm. Yea, it’s on. I’m not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can’t really ever be sure with farm animals…), but I like the idea of comparing two people together. It gives the whole thing a very Turing feel, since people’s ratings of the pictures will be more implicit than, say, choosing a number to represent each person’s hotness like they do on hotornot.com. The other thing we’re going to need is a lot of pictures. Unfortunately, Harvard doesn’t keep a public centralized facebook so I’m going to have to get all the images from the individual houses that people are in. And that means no freshman pictures…drats.
Uliken let’s you compare people, celebrities, cars, colleges, sports teams, pets, politcal candidates, Websites, or YouTube videos and vote for which one you like best. It also works a standalone site, but if you log in through Facebook you can put your friends’ pictures up for a challenge and any faceoffs you submit are sent to you and your friends’ feeds.