Even with the aid of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, it can be difficult to keep friendships going, especially over long distances and without the benefit of in–person get–togethers. But a startup company named MochaMeet is aiming to simplify getting together with far–flung friends anywhere in the world at any time, with a Facebook–driven Web app launched today.
“You can’t always keep track of several hundred people in a network,” said Anish Godha, CEO and founder of MochaMeet, Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif. So, MochaMeet keeps track of where the user’s Facebook friends are — using their hometowns, check–ins and tagged locations — and assists in arranging social gatherings with them.
Setting up the MochaMeet app begins with granting it access to a Facebook account’s Friends list and its associated data, such as hometowns and e–mail addresses. Then, opening a Map page within the app shows all the currently known locations of those friends.
From either the Map page or the user’s Profile page, the user initiates a group chat among friends who are within a specific geographic area spur of the moment, to get the ball rolling. During the chat, each person is able to vote in real–time on places and times any one of them suggests to meet, and meetings can be set up as single or recurring events. Later, MochaMeet will proactively send meeting reminders to the group, helping to ensure that everyone attends.
Three boxes on the user’s Profile page show his hometown, his current geographic location, and the next city he plans to visit according to an itinerary built in the app. There are also options to share those next city plans on Facebook and Twitter, and to send an advance notice to area friends.
Unlike apps such as Yelp or Facebook itself, MochaMeet won’t disclose the exact location of a user within a city or geographic area; for example, it won’t identify a café where the user recently checked in.
To make MochaMeet work best, users must always keep the MochaMeet app updated with their locales and itineraries, and all Facebook friends should be MochaMeet users, Godha said. “If they’re not MochaMeet users, and they’re just your Facebook friends, then it will just pull in their hometowns,” and the app won’t know if they are currently there or will be at any given moment, he explained.
Right now, MochaMeet does not sync with any calendar or time management apps, but Godha said such integration is planned for the future.
Coming soon are MochaMeet mobile apps for Apple iOS and Android devices. Those mobile apps will sync with those devices’ built–in calendar apps.
The MochaMeet Web app is free to use and also contains no ads. The mobile apps will be both free and ad–free, as well. In the future, Godha said, MochaMeet plans to generate revenue from suggesting new meeting places to groups of users based on their past meeting place preferences.