Lifeblob was showcased at Proto.in in July, and though I’d missed the presentation, I did have a 45 minute conversation with one of the founders – Rakesh Rajan – about the service and how they intend to monetize it. To be honest, I wasn’t very convinced about the viability of the service and its use-case; obviously the investors must have had access to more information and plans. There does appear to be an exit route, though:
Lifeblob essentially aggregates a users life putting together a time-line via photos and blog posts. They’re also allowing users to receive user content from other sources like Flickr. Now what’s interesting is that updates are tagged and may be shared between users – for example, a bunch of friends who update their Lifeblob with details of their Udaipur trip can be connected via their timelines and updates, making it easier to go through the trip later. A public timeline for Udaipur can also reveal updates from tags from other users. Take a look at the timeline for Delhi. This is one element that I think they can monetize – in the form of user reviews, photos and inputs for travel, but for this, their interface will have to be made more reader friendly, as well as advertiser friendly. The interface, though it allows users to move across timelines easily, is not very reader friendly, and take a long time to load. A lot of people were raving about that interface at Proto, but I see it more as a hindrance to content discovery.
The other interesting element, which I discovered today while going through Lifeblob’s blog is trends. An exit could be available via companies that want to acquire user data for delivering advertising – given the kind of information, the connections, and the tags that users are sharing about themselves on Lifeblob. Imagine this integrated into Google’s already burgeoning database on users. For this, Lifeblob will have to achieve a fairly large userbase, and go beyond India – which I was told they’re already planning to do. For that, $1 million may not be sufficient.