AdaptiveBlue Announces Glue: The Ultimate Vertical Social Network

By Josh Catone
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At a time when most companies are slimming down operations in order to lower their burn rate and stretch the cash they currently have on hand as far as possible, New Jersey-based AdaptiveBlue is in the lucky position to be announcing a large Series B round today. Led by RRE Ventures and with first round lead Union Square Ventures participating, AdaptiveBlue is announcing today that they’ve raised another $4.5 million in a second round that bring their total raised to just about $6 million.

BlueOrganizer Becomes Glue

More exciting than a funding announcement, though, the company is also announcing the second generation of their ultra popular BlueOrganizer Firefox extension. The new version of the semantic plugin will be called Glue, and is a complete overhaul of BlueOrganizer. In fact, though Glue includes the same sort of semantic discovery bits that made BlueOrganizer so popular, it is essentially a completely new product that adds a decentralized social networking layer on top of the web based around products and media content.

That sounds complicated, but it really couldn’t be more simple. Glue is basically the ultimate vertical social network that connects you with like-minded users based around what you’re interacting with regardless of which networks you use. Glue is about tearing down walled gardens and freeing users from information silos.

How Glue Works

Here’s how it works: Users install the free Glue extension and then browse the web as normal. Using the semantic technology developed for BlueOrganizer that recognizes when you’re looking at certain entities, Glue keeps track of the things you interact with on the web, in a wide variety of verticals, such as books, music, movies, TV shows, wines, restaurants, gadgets, stocks, and entertainers for a large number of supported sites. Whenever you visit one of the entities that Glue recognizes, it adds a bar to the top of the page.

The bar shows you other people who have interacted with that item — be it a book, movie, or something else — as well as which of your friends have interacted with the item. But here’s the kicker: It doesn’t matter where others interact with something. To Glue, a movie page on Wikipedia is the same as one on Amazon is the same as one on IMDB, and so on. If I check out he movie page for the new Indiana Jones movie on IMDB, for example, Glue will tell me if my friends checked out Indiana Jones on Wikipedia, Barnes and Noble, Fandango, Amazon, etc.

As you can see in the screenshot below, Glue is providing information about a user who interacted with a book on Amazon to a user browsing the same book on Barnes and Noble.

As AdaptiveBlue founder Alex Iskold told me, the ultimate example of how powerful this is, is that it means users of Blockbuster and Netflix can now interact and share their taste in movies when before they were locked in a silo on whichever site they used. Glue completely eliminates the walls around services.

Glue also introduces the concept of “Likes” — so you can tag your favorite content — and “2 Cents” — short, 140 character reviews of items that are shared with friends. Users can also delete their interaction with an item, to avoid Facebook Beacon-style privacy faux pas where Christmas gifts are shared with recipients early, or require approval before allowing others to follow their browsing activity.

The video below is a screencast from AdaptiveBlue introducing Glue to users:

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