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SociaLink App Adds New Friend On Multiple Social Media Networks At Once

Paresh Dave |
November 28, 2012 | 1:15 a.m. PST

Executive Director

SociaLink is now available on the Apple App Store.

Frustrated by the searching needed to follow, friend or connect with a new friend on multiple social media applications, a trio of students at the University of Arizona produced a Bluetooth-reliant app that narrows down the online connecting to a few taps.

The app, SociaLink, could reach the Apple App Store as early as this week.

"At a bar, at a fraternity party, at a business event, you meet someone you really want to connect with, but the process to find them, take their name down and look for the right person is tough," said SociaLink CEO Michael Jacobs.

SociaLink would revolutionize that experience by allowing for an instant connection, Jacobs said. After downloading the app, a user logs in to their social media accounts. At launch, the app will support Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

When two people with the app want to connect with each other, both open the app, which turns on each phone's Bluetooth capability. The phones communicate. Each user accepts the connection, and the relevant friend and follow requests are sent automatically across the selected social media accounts. To connect with someone who doesn't have the app, you can use the app to email the links to your social media pages.

Jacobs said the idea for SociaLink came to him while meditating near a jungle resort during a study abroad trip in India this past summer.

"I saw the value over there personally when I would go out and end up in these beautiful hotels and palaces, meeting these CEOs and beautiful Indian women," he said. "Spelling their names when I was trying to find them was difficult. And their difficulty was finding me with a name like Michael Jacobs. There's 200, 300 Michael Jacobs on Facebook."

Developing the idea in India gave Jacobs a unique opportunity. He interviewed several app development teams in Bangalore, the city where he was studying. Snyxius won the bidding. Funding from friends and family has paid for the development. He's teamed up with fellow University of Arizona students David Orr and Hector Rosales to launch the app.

Jacobs ensured privacy and security issues have been minimized. Connections between phones have to be consensual. Data is stored securely.

"The value of our application in general will override those doubts in people's minds," he said. "It solves so many complex issues about when you meet people and want to make that instant connection."

SociaLink is similar to Bump, one of the most popular apps ever. Using sensors in phones and the Internet, Bump swaps basic contact information when two phones are tapped against each other. Bump also built ways to share photos and payment information. But social media hasn't been a focus.

LinkedIn bought another competitor, cardmunch, which lets iPhone users create a new contact by photographing a business card. Another app designed to connect social media all at-once was quickly bid adieu.

Jacobs said he spent more than 100 hours researching competition before moving forward with his idea.

"The way we've designed the app -- in format and design -- we've set ourselves apart from anything else in the App Store," Jacobs said.

If SociaLink succeeds on the App Store, the next step will be an Android app.

"We're working on building the hype to solidify that we have a good idea," Jacobs said. "As soon as we see the response, we're going take it straight to the Android guys and get them started."

Farther away is making money. The free app will not have ads.

"The responses have been positive from testers," Jacobs said. "That's what is motivating us so far."

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