After three days that were dominated by the word “Creativity”, the jury deliberated: the winner of TechCrunch Disrupt SF is Shaker, the social game that turns Facebook into a bar.
Israeli startup Shaker stands as proof that social networks play an ever-growing role in our lives. Intel‘s approach of turning Facebook profiles into personal museums was certainly impressive, but also a bit disturbing. Shaker, on the other hand, made things a lot more pleasant and interactive, by bringing animation and music into play. Somehow, this way we are no longer concerned that our Facebook profile data gets accessed. Also, since we are allowed to choose the privacy mode, we actually have a bit more peace of mind.
Shaker competed against 30 other startups, out of which two were audience choice winners. Still, only 7 out of 31 made it to the final and obviously, there could be only one winner. The most innovative feature of Shaker is that it gives us the chance to meet new people. Until now, Facebook games could only be played with one’s friends, fact that can actually become boring at some point. Once strangers are involved, we get to see why this social game resembles a bar.
One thing that differentiates Shaker from real bars is that the lofts can get overcrowded. We can only imagine how people feel when they are placed in a loft with a few thousands other Facebook members. Unless we settle to know better a smaller amount of people, interactions could become a bit superficial. Also, not all people who are checking Shaker up are enthusiastic about it, since they consider it a not so veridical second life. The pop-ups that remind us to invite more friends can be nagging.
The best thing to do, according to many users, is to take Shaker as an ice-breaker instead of a replacement for real bars and real social interactions. In other words, if distance is not a problem, then it would be great to continue in real life the conversations started in Shaker. We have to consider that this startup is still in beta phase, so we will have to wait and see what improvements the developers will make. Until then, we can only congratulate them for winning TechCrunch Disrupt SF and wish them best of luck in the future!