July 12, 2013
Heard about anonymous chat sites to talk with strangers? Sounds creepy? Zumbl was launched a few months ago to let users engage in meaningful conversations with strangers while maintaining anonymity. Just in time for Americans to alleviate some of the prying eyes of the NSA electronic snoops.
Zumbl recently introduced a feature to talk about “specific topics,” or to talk with a specific group of people, and launched their iPhone application. But something that immediately draws the attention is their focus to build virtual identity, albeit anonymous.
“We are creating a pseudo-anonymous identity of a person where we don’t associate one’s real information like real name, country, etc. to the Zumbl profile, but associate the interests, list of preferred movies, books, etc., and on the top of that identity enable a very different kind of people search,” says Abhishek Gupta, who co-founded Zumbl with Kumar Saurabh. The pair dropped out from their college to accept incubation at Digital Media Zone, Toronto.
“And this is why we associate with a person an avatar descriptive of his/her qualities on Zumbl, as perceived by the people he/she chatted with. So, if someone marked you nerdy and geeky, your avatar would automatically be updated to a nerdy avatar (by use of machine learning algorithms),” says Shinja Singh, who has been designing their avatars and is studying engineering in mathematics and computing, but shares passion for design. Jack Dorsey happens to be her inspiration for the nerdy male avatar.
The company claims to be adding a new user every 90 seconds, while a new chat session starts every 20 seconds. Started from the dormitory of Gupta and Kumar, currently eight students are working on Zumbl. The youngest of them, 17-year-old Kumar Abhishek, was added to the team after he discovered a potential loophole in their offline messaging system.
Zumbl is a moderated platform, moderated by top users and inspired by Wikipedia and Quora.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Zumbl shapes up, given their pitch that they are trying to move a step beyond Facebook graph search, and let people search for people anonymously. Though ensuring meaningful conversations involving millions of anonymous people seems a crazy bet to me.
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