CU webapp makes meeting people easy

May 31, 2010

Developed at CU-Boulder, new mobile social network lets users view Facebook profiles on their iPhone or iPod Touch

You know how it is. You see someone interesting in class or a coffee shop or walking across campus and wonder, “Who’s that?”—but you’re reluctant to talk to someone you don’t know. It wouldn’t be so intimidating to strike up a conversation if you knew something about the person. The hoozat web application makes it easy to meet people and make friends.

Developed at CU-Boulder, hoozat is a new mobile social network that allows users to easily find the Facebook profiles of other hoozat users nearby. By clicking on hoozat photos or names, you can view Facebook profiles on your iPhone or iPod Touch. With just a couple of clicks, you can add hoozat users as friends on your Facebook.

hoozat also allows you to control your location privacy with general location awareness instead of pinpoint mapping. You can adjust the size of the location radius or opt out when you don’t want your location known.

The hoozat application is based on technology developed by TechoShark, Inc., a start-up company founded by CU-Boulder Associate Professor Richard Han and graduate students in the Department of Computer Science. Han is president of TechnoShark, and Seth Murray, a computer science graduate student, is vice president of business development.

“It’s hard to go up to someone you don’t know and introduce yourself,” said Han. “With hoozat, you can more easily break the ice with someone and establish a relationship because you know a little about the person before you introduce yourself.”

CU-Boulder is the epicenter of hoozat, but Han and Murray have lofty goals to make the webapp a global mobile social network. It will ultimately be available for MySpace and Linkedin and be used on other smart phones and mobile devices.

Smart phones are ripe for social networking, and hoozat is a system that ties together online social networks with smart phones. There are more than 200 million Facebook users, and it’s estimated that nearly all CU-Boulder freshmen have Facebook profiles, says Han. By harnessing the entrepreneurial energy on campus, Han and his team of graduate students created an application that taps into the heart of the social network to give users a better way to share information. hoozat is poised to become the essential webapp for facilitating social dialogue.

“The ability of mobile social networking technology to substantially lower the barriers to social discourse by minimizing unfamiliarity could revolutionize social interaction,” said Han.

In April 2009, TechoShark won the Computer Science Award for best computer science business plan at CU-Boulder’s New Venture Challenge.

The team received a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovations Research (SBIR) Phase I grant to pursue development of the mobile social networking application through TechoShark to launch the hoozat application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. TechShark is applying for an SBIR Phase II grant to help take hoozat nationwide in 2010.

“When CU-Boulder students load hoozat onto their phones, we want them to understand that it’s homegrown here on campus but has the potential to become much bigger,” said Murray. “Facebook started at Harvard. hoozat is starting at CU. It’s an easier way for students to see their friends’ data and to interact with it.”

Developed at CU-Boulder, hoozat makes it easy to:

  • Meet new people
  • Make friends
  • View their Facebook profile
  • Add them as a friend on Facebook
  • Control your location privacy

Go to the hoozat website at hoozatapp.com. Click on the link to the hoozat download on the iTunes App Store, or go directly to iTune from your iPhone, computer, or iPod Touch.

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