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FileRide: Social Networking or Invasive Indexing?

fileride_logo_08.png After MySpace came along and stole Friendster’s audience and spotlight, the next big shark to-be to join the pool was Facebook. Yes, the Social Media wars had officially begun. Naturally, after the birth of and bandwagon jumping between those three players, a social network platform boom happened, with products of all shapes and sizes. Today you can say: “I want a micro social network for my business” and we’d suggest Plum as the way to go.

You could even hint at how you’ve been itching for a network based on your creepy love for bellybutton lint and we’d tell you (gingerly) to go make one and bond with other lint lovers using Ning. And now, thanks to a Stockholm-based company called FileRide, you can even dream of social networks for inanimate things like the files on your computer, and we’d still be able to point you in the right direction.

A Network for Files? Seriously? Why?

The idea behind the FileRide’s social desktop is ultimately friend finding efficiency with minimal effort on the user’s part. FileRide claims that regular social networks are based on preexisting relationships, and while we don’t necessarily agree (with a little more effort, it’s totally possible to make friends based on your interests on MySpace and Facebook) we can see how it’d be easier to find people you’d gel with if it were based on interests more concrete than an About Me ditty or the love for certain applications.

With FileRide, it’s as easy as adding your favorite files into the social desktop (for matching purposes only, not sharing). After the heinous and bothersome dragging and dropping is all over, you can sit back and watch your favorite YouTube videos, images and MP3s find and make you new friends from all across the globe. Think of it like this: The files you select will immediately go out in search of their exact makeup in other files. The more matches there are within one user’s file hub, chances are the more compatible they’ll be with you.

Additionally, since the program runs in the background, it also notices whenever you copy and paste a file, image, or link while rooting around on the web. In these instances, a pop up alert will give you the option to add these files into your hub as well. And, as if all of that isn’t already easy and automated enough, links to YouTube videos are automatically filed into their own 'YouTube' category on the service.

As for songs and images, FileRide creates digital fingerprints. This way, users can still meet and mingle through the files even if they have different names.

FileRide also includes a micro-blogging service, a comment wall called the 'Smorgasbord', the ability to subscribe to news feeds from your friends and groups, as well as desktop alerts when new chats or comments appear in a group you follow and relevant blog posts and Wikipedia entries.

The Creep-Tastic Front

Yeah, OK, it’s a little weird. Even though you have complete control over what files you add and the names of those files aren’t exposed, the feeling of the concept of everyone knowing what you’re all about from the get go in addition to letting your personal interests do the hard work is echoing across the Web as unsettling. FileRide is well aware of this fact and attempts to quell their worrisome audience through light humor (“Just relax – we come in peace!”), perhaps with the interest to prepare users for even more invasive and strange friend making tactics, like their planned ability to recognize ISBNs and other contexts.

I’m OK with Invasive Indexing. How Do I Get FileRide?

FileRide is currently available to PC users running Windows XP or Vista. Though there are plans in the making to make it compatible with Mac and Linux, it will unfortunately be after the free registration period which closed late last month. Not cool, we know.

For all you PC heads, you can register for a free invitation here, and FileRide will get back to you whenever they see fit. And, since we're not sure what to make of it ourselves, be sure to come back and tell us what you think!

 
 
 
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