Sonar Adds New Features, Wants to Be Your ‘Here-Now’ Social Network

Find your friends, not randos.

brett party Sonar Adds New Features, Wants to Be Your Here Now Social Network

Mr. Martin just a year ago. (Photo: Getty/AOL)

The news just keeps rolling out of TechCrunch Disrupt. (Guys, please save us a few stories for next week.) debuted last year on the battlefield and came close to taking home the grand prize. Today, they’re debuting several new features with the goal of becoming your “here-now social network.” Here’s what’s new: First off, they’re adding tweet-like status messages, which’ll show up for friends and other relevant people nearby. They’re also adding notifications, so connections’ll get a ping when you show up nearby. (They’ll see your status message.) You can also now privately message someone who shows up in your vicinity. On top of all that, you can now run the app in the background, meaning you don’t have to check in or sign on for your friends to see you’re around. That should make it a lot easier for Sonar to convince, let’s say, locked-in Foursquare users that they might want to try the service. (Although now you’ll just have another thing you need to remember to turn off if you’d like to make a solitary beer run un-accosted or without hurting someone’s feelings.) Founder Brett Martin told Betabeat the changes were about realizing that here-now vision. “There’s a lot of people, you know, apps that are telling you there are strangers nearby, or telling you that there is someone who also likes boating around the corner,” he said. “And so we’re trying to say, ‘How do we build a communications platform to connect and share with the people, you know, firiends and interesting people, here right now.'” The new features are designed to advance that goal, he told us. The status message in particular is “like a tweet, but directed solely at the people nearby,” he said. “Twitter and Facebook and platforms like that are terrible platforms for asking, ‘Who’s around right now? Who wants to grab a drink right now?'” “I think a big problem with this space is relevance. Why?” he added. It’s like you’re reading our mind, Mr. Martin! Do go on. “Why do I care about getting notifications that some person is around the corner?” His pitch for relevancy? “Sonar is focusing very much on solving real problems,” like coordinating a large group of event attendees, or communicating with coworkers in a large office, he said. Mr. Martin also speculated about a more brand-friendly use case: bands who want to release a special mp3 to concert attendees.