Friday, September 16, 2011

Review of Shaker... winner of TechCrunch award.. You must check it.


I'm after about 3 hrs of "play" with (shell I say perhaps "Visit to") Shaker... and I like it.
If you are a virtual worlds buff, check it out. You will be amazed at how real data changed the way you behave.

Shaker is a new virtual worlds. It is based on Facebook. It won the the TechCrunch 2011 competition.

I must admit I got few invite to Shaker before, and did not bother to visit. It was a mistake!
and I'm here to correct it.

First how it works, then what is special about it, then few reflective notes.

How it works?
You can enter Shaker only via Facebook (there is a web version www.shaker.ac.il but it seems dead.)

After few seconds, you find yourself in an entry screen where you select a room to go in.
(there is the main bar, and few more rooms based on ages -- I'm sure topical rooms will come soon).



After you select a room, you enter a Flash based 2.5 D room (similar to Habbo Hotel). After a short intro you get to see 20-30-40 avatars, with small images on them (the images are of the REAL user of the avatar!!!).  These avatars can be Green (your friends), Yellow (friends of friends), and Grey (new people). Simple. You get to hear bar like music (technically Sound Cloud). You can not select the music. But you can Pause it.

Now you can:
- Walk around the bar, and start chatting with people.
- Dance (your avatar starts to dance).
- Offer Drinks
- See the profile of all avatars (based on heir levels of Privacy).
- Join chats (the chat is visually marked).
- Send private messages.

and few more things...


What is Special About Shaker?
Compared with other virtual worlds: Entry takes 10 seconds. It is fast and you get the Social factor out of the box. Shaker asks you for access to all your Facebook details and it gets it. Every woman (or man) you see have their real details  -- you have three levels of privacy:
- "shy" (just your name and pic - minimum),
- "normal" (more details)
- "friendly" (even more details, like all your tagged albums).

Shaker is mostly used for, of course, dating... more like pick ups. I'm not so much in this market, so I could not fully appreciate what is going on in this regards. But it seems very lively (forgive the pun): Man hunt ladies.

So what is unique:
Well it is the first virtual world that I see that connects the real and the virtual in such a simple and "aggressive" way. Simple, because all your data are imported from Facebook. I'm not sure all Shaker users really understand that they are talking with people who can get to see all their details. Shaker goes one step further and show each user common things with other avatars: Do you live in the same city, what groups you have in common, etc.

Shaker does not have yet all the usual features (design your own room, buy your own music, avatar changes, but I'm sure it will all come). The link of the real and the virtual is the key innovation here.

Reflection
The uniqueness of this world, can be easily copied to similar worlds. In fact, Second Life already have an option to use your real name.I'm sure IMVU is thinking about connecting your Facebook data to your IMVU data.

The potential here is high. Shaker needs to move fast to capture mind share and users. It should quickly develop its virtual goods (look at IMVU, if you look for user create content, or just do your own). I, for one, will continue to follow them and see how they progress.

P.S. I want to thank the 3 cool avatars I spoke with ... and mention one critical value point:
"the cool thing here, is the fact there is NO SMOKE."