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Presence-Based Social Networking Company IRL Evolves Social Networking

Location-Based Services Lay Foundation for Presence-Based Social Networking

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS and LAS VEGAS, NV -- (Marketwire) -- 01/05/09 -- CES 2009 -- As social networking migrates from the computer to real life via mobile devices, presence will give life to digital relationships in the real world and expand connections online, says Frank Schuil, CEO of In Real Life (IRL), a social networking company that is evolving location-based services beyond simple mapping of events and places. IRL is the only presence-based social networking company that links virtual information and social context to the physical world.

According to IRL, social networking's future lies in presence, not location. Location-based services are about mapping information -- events, reviews, places. It's static. In contrast, presence builds on location by giving users a sense of where their friends are and allowing them to add the element of connection to all of their social networking and social media. Presence gives users the feeling of being attached to their friends and the world around them instead of looking at a static profile page -- it's about getting the most out of relationships wherever you are.

Currently on the Internet, location is only applied in a non-interactive manner. But the Internet also offers the best opportunity to transport people's digital lives back to the real world by visualizing where friends are and feeling their presence. This visualization of digital life that enables presence through location puts friends on a map so users can find, meet and communicate with them, as well as make new connections. It's all about following the logical paths by connecting the dots between users and the people they want to know.

According to Schuil, location or where you are, is currently not a driving factor for people using social networks on the Internet. It's only being applied in the mobile social networking space, which is still evolving as devices do not yet fully support a social digital experience. Presence-based social networking must evolve to become part of the users' social experience that they want to take with them, starting with the social networking market that exists on the Internet. According to ComScore Media Metrix there were 506 million social networking users worldwide in 2007. Once users base their real life and virtual connections around location on the Internet, they will demand mobility.

Schuil adds, "Imagine if you could know where all your friends are all the time, what would this allow you to do? People are visual beings and presence allows them to get the most out of human connectivity and organically grow their relationships through location and conversation both online and offline. The old fashioned digital world is really detached from the reality that we know, while a visual map linked to geographical and physical space is not."

Presence-based social networking will evolve social behavior and lead to the following social changes:

--  New connections - It will increase the visibility of and enrich
    digital relationships, leading to connections in real life.

--  Deeper relationships - Real-life relationships will be more tangible
    regardless of location. Presence-based social networking reduces the
    feeling of distance by giving a visual connection by presence and making
    them feel very close.

--  Global citizens - Awareness of relationships by proximity will broaden
    our connections with the world and those around us.

--  Back to reality - Digital relationships have a wall of anonymity,
    which creates distance. Presence is a way to break down that wall, to re-
    attach to reality and maintain relationships and bring visibility where it
    didn't exist before.

--  User generated content - With presence, user generated content like
    IM, video, photos and audio that previously did not have geographical
    context will now drive conversation and become part of the real world
    infrastructure.

--  Privacy by preference - Because locations are approximated, users get
    an added layer of privacy and control over what other users can and cannot
    see.

--  Localized advertising 2.0 - Localized advertising is more personal
    because it can be addressed to you based on your interest, location and
    profile.
    

About In Real Life

In Real Life (IRL), the only presence-based social networking company that adds presence to all your social network and social media. The company's product, IRL Connect - Sense your Friends!, allows users to take their friends from any social network and visualize them on the map to find, meet and communicate. The company is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands with an office in China. The company is privately funded. For more information or to receive an invite to their private beta, visit www.irlcorporate.com.

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Media contact:
Jennifer Hicks for IRL Connect
+31 611278358 mobile or +1-617-959-7794
Jennifer@theinkstudio.com

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