This New Social Network Lets You Like Things By Smiling

This New Social Network Lets You Like Things By Smiling
Retail

Polygram is the latest entry in the social media sphere with a new take on how online interactions manifest: detecting facial reactions

Ido Lechner, Home Editor
  • 14 september 2017

With the current state of the social media landscape, it feels like there isn’t much wiggle room for newcomers to find their niche. Long-time industry giants shamelessly steal features from their competitors, and as a result, most social startups endure the same lifespan as Vine at best or Peach at worst.

With Facebook boasting over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram in second with 700 million and Snapchat, LinkedIn and Twitter all having well surpassed the 100 million mark as well, new social media have to offer bold new methods of interaction to catch the attention of audiences already loyal to the preexisting social juggernauts. And because social networks are just that—social—the only way for a platform to take off is if it successfully leverages the network effect, which is always difficult when starting from scratch.

Still, the saturated space hasn’t deterred bullish brands from attempting to carve out their own niche, with photo-sharing social network Polygram being among the brave new entries in the ecosystem. Using facial detection that enables users to leave reactions on posts based on their natural expression when consuming content, the platform hopes to distance itself from competitors by creating a more authentic dialogue among users. But co-founder Faryar Ghazanfari opted to leave reactions anonymous, likely to avoid creating conflicts among friend circles. Instead, he theorizes that Polygram’s unique facial analytics feature will help popularize the platform among creators and influencers interested in A/B testing their work.

“Influencers and content creators are the oxygen in this ecosystem [which is why] we have white glove service for influencers, with full-time employees that just create custom features for them,” Ghazanfari told TechCrunch. By empowering those who populate platforms to produce their content with better and more direct feedback, Ghazanfari believes Polygram will eventually catch on as a hub for sharing content equally as much as its utility in validating ideas.

‘Like by smiling’ is at the core of what the young startup is trying to achieve: a more expressive, responsive and therefore more tight-knit social cluster. The effect is achieved with an artificial intelligence convolutional neural network that detects how your face moves and maps it to a specific emotion—or in this case, emoji.

In addition to facial analytics and the company’s initial investment in building its base of social stars, Polygram also features some augmented reality technology used in a similar fashion to Snapchat filters—only instead of playful overlays like making you puke rainbows or turning you into a puppy, the app only adds beautifying features instead. It even lets you publish both ephemeral and permanent pictures and videos, a recent addition for Instagram which received some backlash for copying Snapchat.

The startup, which recently raised $2.1 million in seed funding, was also the first to introduce the ‘wipe-to-reveal’ concept, in which images intended for your eyes only arrive in a shrouding blur that you can clear off with a swipe of your finger. That feature was promptly copied by one of Apple’s newer iOS upgrades for text messaging. The fogged-screen effect reappears shortly after every wipe, letting you target certain spots within an image you wish to reveal. Should you try to screenshot the encrypted photo, the other party will be alerted and sent a copy of the capture.

Though its too early to tell whether it’ll be a hit or miss, Polygram seems to be covering some of the critical areas to get right within the social landscape—chiefly the ways in which it stands out, how to grow the network, bringing innovative technology to the fore and capitalizing on trends such as ephemeral clips, selfies, encrypted messaging and filters. Still, the company knows it faces an uphill battle; only time will tell whether these snazzy features will be what establishes Polygram or simply provides the giants with another weapon in their arsenal.

Polygram

With the current state of the social media landscape, it feels like there isn’t much wiggle room for newcomers to find their niche. Long-time industry giants shamelessly steal features from their competitors, and as a result, most social startups endure the same lifespan as Vine at best or Peach at worst.

+apparel
+Apple
+apps
+Facebook
+Facial Recognition
+Fashion
+Luxury
+mobile
+Mobile
+retail
+Social Media
+Social Media
+startups
+techcrunch
+technology
+work

Learn About Our Membership Services

Need Research Help?
As a member you can ask us any research questions and get complimentary research assistance with a 4-day turnaround. Reports inclde stats, quotes, and best-inclass examples on research topics.
Remain Informed & Strategic
We publish several trends reports each month. By becoming a member you will have access to over 100 existing reports, plus a growing catalog of deep topical analysis and debrief-style reports so you always remain in the know.
See Trends Come To Life
Meet your peers and immerse yourself in monthly trend and innovation webinars and discounted conferences.
No search results found.