If you thought the world of online social networking is only about Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn, then hold on: there is a serious challenge coming from India.
The new, fledgling service, called Vebbler, is mostly about what Facebook and Twitter don’t offer, besides taking online interactions to newer levels.
Founder Sahil Bhagat says Vebbler is based on personal networking, wherein online interactions are similar to the way we interact in real life. He says when the current networking sites were launched it was mostly students and youth who were online. But today, the demographics have changed so much that everyone from parents to teachers to colleagues and bosses are online.
Vebbler is based on crowd-layering model. Here, when you add a person, you have to put him or her into a group like workmate, acquaintance etc. He says, “In other sites, that’s not the default way, it’s just an option. Here all your connections are categorized just as in real life,” says Bhagat.
One application of the model is in chat. Explains Bhagat, “When you are on holiday, you don’t want to chat with colleagues, but only with friends and relatives. So, you can disable them.”
An innovative feature is social commerce. Explains Bhagat, “We can so far tag only face. But there are elements other than the face: watch, dress, belt, spectacles etc. Suppose you like the watch you see in a photo and want to buy one like that, click on it. Vebbler goes to e-commerce portals and finds out products similar to the one in the photo. If you buy right away, you get discounts of up to 8%.” He has brought in the feature because he thinks people are bigger influences than ads. “No personal data are shared,” he stresses.