Back in March, as we reported on Offline Labs‘ initial funding, we also offered up a quick glimpse of their first project, codenamed Project Dragōn. Now the project, actually called Sōsh, is ready to be fully be revealed.
The basic idea behind Sōsh is a simple one: “find and share interesting things to do,” co-founder Rishi Mandal says. “Life’s too short to be bored,” he continues noting that when most people do things, they tend to do the same things over and over again — go to the movies, go to the same restaurants, etc.
That’s the hole in peoples’ lives that Sōsh is trying to fill. And to do that, they’re aiming at the city-level. Launching first in San Francisco, Sōsh is a website that gives you a few simple, but key ways to get ideas for things to do. The first way is algorithmic. The main page features a drop-down that reads “I’m looking for” — you select the type of activity you want to do.
The second way Sōsh serves up ideas is through curation. Their team will look at all the different activities they’re crawling in a city and serve up what they believe are the best ones that should be highlighted.
The third way is perhaps the most important: what your friends are doing. By tapping into your social graphs on Facebook and Twitter, Sōsh shows you a feed of what the people you’re already friends with are interested in doing. You can then start conversations around these activities, and hopefully even do something together.
“Millions of people search for the phrase ‘things to do’ on Google — it’s almost as much as they search for Justin Bieber,” Mandal points out, laughing. But as he shows me, the results that Google serves up basically suck. Sōsh, quite simply, aims to not suck.
When a user finds an activity on Sōsh that interests them, they can bookmark it with one click. From here, activities can be shared via the normal means: Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. You can also mark down things you’ve already done. And you can actually plan an activity with a simple, easy-to-follow form. In this regard, Sōsh is a bit like a more curated and less event-focused Plancast.
Sōsh has a huge inventory of sources for their activities that they crawl automatically to put new ones into the system as they become available. It’s not about deals, but that could be an aspect, Mandal notes.
But the goal is an even broader one. “People spend 90 percent of their time and money offline,” Mandal says, noting that their service is all about creating the best online experience to figure out what to do offline. Obviously, the team knows that many have been going after this very thing, but Mandal is encouraged by what he has seen as “many fantastic failures” saying that no one has yet nailed the “elusive” interest graph.
And while Sōsh is just a traditional web-based app for now, the goal is to move to mobile quickly. They understand the true potential may lie there. And obviously, the hope is to expand beyond this initial beta in San Francisco as quickly as possible.
“Our end goal is: someone went out and did something amazing,” Mandal says. “The mental model we’re competing for is: ‘What should we do? Let’s check Sōsh’,” he says.
To celebrate the launch, Sōsh has given us 250 invites to give out to TechCrunch readers. Again, you’ll want to be based in San Francisco (or planning to come here) to use it. Enjoy. Others can sign up to be let into the beta on the site, and they’ll be letting people in on a rolling basis.