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Summary:

Still in beta, Dopplr is a very interesting take on connecting travelers through the power of social networking. How often have you thought to yourself, “I’m going to <insert random conference/city/event here> next week. I wonder who else I know is going.” At this point, there’s […]

Dopplr logoStill in beta, Dopplr is a very interesting take on connecting travelers through the power of social networking.

How often have you thought to yourself, “I’m going to <insert random conference/city/event here> next week. I wonder who else I know is going.” At this point, there’s invariably a chain of ill-timed emails, inevitably missing someone who is actually going to be in the same place as you at the same time. Dopplr aims to resolve this issue through providing a way for those serendipitous moments to be under your control, rather than left to random chance.

After signing up for Dopplr, you enter your upcoming travels, building a list of your movements. As you add connections with people you know, Dopplr comes into its own, letting you, and your connections, know when you will be in the same place at the same time.

As you can see from the image above, I have an upcoming trip to Sydney where two of my friends will also be there, and a part of my US holiday in October sees me in San Francisco with another two folks.

The Dopplr permission model is interesting, being completely invitation-based. You have to explicitly invite other travelers to see and interact with your information and they need to invite you to see theirs in return. They intend to keep it this way, as they see travel plans and location as a private matter to be shared only when a user wants to. It also means that for most users, joining Dopplr will mean joining an existing network of people you already know. That’s a little different to most social networks and certainly rich in the connectedness that social networks rely on.

Dopplr hooks into the growing Microformats movement. Any URL you supply to Dopplr with the hCalendar format embedded will be added to your calendar of travels. So, you can enter the URL of an event at Upcoming and have that event in your Dopplr travels. I imagine it will only be a matter of time before you’ll be able to let Dopplr know about your “all my events” feed from somewhere like Upcoming and it will consume and display all those events automatically.

Dopplr also allows you to leverage the power of your travels is by providing iCal and Atom feeds of your listed trips. These two formats allow subscription by most of the calendar tools web workers use.

The Dopplr crew have many features in the pipeline – an API to allow mashups with other services (you can see a proof of concept here) and a full text message interface as well as IM and email. Perhaps most interesting is Dopplr’s intention to implement tools to measure the greenhouse impact of your travels and to allow you to purchase carbon credits against your travels. Even you can be carbon neutral!

You can follow Dopplr’s progress at their blog and they are currently taking signups for the beta program.

  1. This intrigues me. I can see many applications for Doppir in the business world, which is (unfortunately) dominated by many people for whom social networking/Web 2.0 stuff is just so much gobbledegook. Also, many of these folks depend on admin assistants to manage their schedules for them, and few of these assistants are interested in managing this as third-party function (e.g., issuing invites, etc.)

    This may seem utterly tangental, I realize, but how does one bring this sort of technology to the audience that could really benefit from it, instead of merely to techy millenials or globe-trotting trust-fund millenials? Not to mention the fact that it is still awfully “fiddly” with all the invitations and data entry, etc. Much of the gap between those who “use” and those who do not is an unwilingness, on our (techy) side) to acknowledge our own enduring myth that computers SAVE TIME. How can we even say that, after putting in 10 or 14 hour days in front of our little LCD screens? What computers do is create whole new opportunities. The real challenge is making opportunities that are truly available to the many instead of just we few…

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  2. I think this service would be more valuable if they hooked up with linkedin or something similar in order to make it more useful for the business users. i think otherwise, it just doesn’t excite me – for one thing I don’t have is time, and this is just another time suck as a standalone entity

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  3. [...] Dopplr, a social network when you are on the move. (link) [...]

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  4. [...] Social Network Dopplr Connects You When You Travel [image]Still in beta, Dopplr is a very interesting take on connecting travelers through the power of social […] [...]

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  5. @almostgotit – social computing generally needs to be exposed much better in business. It’s something I do a fair bit of consulting on and the barriers can be hard to break. But yes, if business people were exposed to this in an easy to use way, we might break through to the general rather than tech-savvy user.

    @Om – absolutely agree that Dopplr needs to play more with other services. It already plays with Upcoming, but only on a per-event basis as far as I can tell. There needs to be a way to get all the professional/social connection plus presence-based social tools talking together. That way, Facebook knows when you’ll be at Upcoming event X which is automatically reflected in your Dopplr and Google calendars and informs your LinkedIn connections who are attending the same event. I’d suggest it’s doable.

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  6. [...] is the Lead Developer on social network for travellers, Dopplr. I interviewed him recently for my Dopplr review on Web Worker Daily. I’m posting the full interview here so that you can read all the really interesting things [...]

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  7. [...] Simpel und einfach kann man seine Locations eingeben, und erfährt, wenn Kollegen zur gleichen Zeit am selben Ort sind. Leider im Moment nur, wenn sie zur exakt gleichen Zeit am exakt gleichen Ort sind – etwas mehr Fuzziness wäre hier sehr willkommen, denn für gute Bekannte die man selten sieht, ist man gerne bereit, einen Umweg zu machen, oder eine Reise zu verlängern. Ich habe noch ein paar Invites – wenn Du auch eine Frequent Traveller bist, lass ich Dir gerne einen zukommen. PS: mein Invite stammt von Tom Purves, danke Tom! Werde Dich dafür im Sommer in Toronto besuchen kommen… PPS: gerade gesehen: Interview mit dem Chef-Entwickler. [...]

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  8. [...] of Dopplr (WWD review here), it’s the third app we’re going to look at. Dopplr goes global where Upcoming and [...]

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  9. [...] came across Dopplr in June last year via Web Worker Daily (‘Social Networking Dopplr Connects You When You Travel’ by Stephen Collins) and thought it was a great networking tool for people who travel a great deal: How often have you [...]

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  10. [...] Dopplr has been around for a while, but I know an increasing number of techies who have started using it, especially if they travel internationally a lot. It’s a mashup of a social network and a travel itinerary manager, and does useful things like let you know when you and those you are connected to are going to be in the same place at the same time. Plazes is a similar tool that I hear a lot of good things about. [...]

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