FileRide is a Stockholm-based social network with a twist: FileRide creates a social network for you, based around the files that are already on your computer. FileRide, for example, lets you see who else on the services has the same song or image on their computers and lets you add them as friends. Even more interestingly, you can then also add comments to these files and chat about them in real-time. It is important to note, however, that FileRide is not a file-sharing network and that you can't tranfer files through the service. FileRide's client software currently only works on XP and Vista, but OS X and mobile versions are already in development.
Social Network Around Files
Unlike most social networks, which are based around preexisting relationships, FileRide focuses more on shared interests. Instead of having to go out and find like-minded people, however, your music collection or your favorite YouTube videos already form the basis of these relationships. FileRide also features groups for different topics.
FileRide's desktop program runs in the background and notices whenever you copy and paste a file, image, or link. In these cases, it will pop up an alert and give you the option to add these files to FileRide. Links to YouTube videos will automatically be filed into their own 'YouTube' category on the service. Of course, you can also drag and drop your MP3s or other documents onto the FileRide desktop directly to add them to your list.
For songs and images, FileRide creates digital fingerprints, so that users can still 'gather' around these media files, even though the files might have different names. Supposedly, these fingerprints even work across different file types (think MP3 and AAC files, or different bitrates for songs), though we weren't able to test this yet.
Overall, FileRide's feature set is impressive and we barely have the space to touch upon its core services here. It includes a micro-blogging service, a Facebook-like wall (the 'Smorgasbord'), the ability to subscribe to newsfeeds from your friends and groups, as well as desktop alerts when new chats or comments appear in a group you follow. The desktop software will also display relevant blog posts and Wikipedia entries.
Soon, FileRide will also be able to recognize ISBNs and other contexts. FileRide's development team also plans to integrate Spotify's music service soon.
Sign up by November 30
FileRide is also taking an interesting marketing approach. Instead of launching the service with a private beta, sign-ups will only be open until November 30th and after that, the FileRide will become invite-only, so if you want to try the service out, now is the time to sign up.
We can't blame you if you are skeptical about yet another social network, but we have been testing the service for a while now and have been quite surprised by how well the concept works. As is typical for these social services in their early stages, the current number of users hasn't quite reached the critical mass yet where you can expect a constant stream of comments and updates. However, as FileRide's founder Patrik Hedmalm told us, since its launch a few weeks ago, the service has been growing steadily thanks to effective word of mouth marketing.