Upon hearing about the new Facebook Timeline feature today, my immediate reaction was: “Huh, isn’t that exactly what Seattle’s Intersect is all about?”
After all, Intersect — like the Facebook Timeline announced today by Mark Zuckerberg — is all about creating a space where Internet users can chronicle and share life’s most important moments. And it does so via a timeline that allows individuals to browse photos and musings from each year or decade.
Intersect founder Peter Rinearson — a former Microsoft vice president and award-winning journalist — responded to the new competitive threat with a post on Intersect.
And so what does he make of the Facebook Timeline?
In his view, it falls short of what Intersect offers.
“As best we can tell, Facebook offers you only one timeline, it doesn’t appear to let you borrow content from other people, it doesn’t have Intersect’s interesting and entertaining ways of exploring time and place, and it doesn’t let you discover lives and stories that intersect with yours,” Rinearson writes.
It certainly can be disconcerting when an $80-billion juggernaut with more than 800 million active users drops right into your space.
But Intersect, which just raised some additional capital last month, still thinks there’s room to operate.
“We think Facebook’s timeline feature will give people a taste of how compelling and useful timelines can be, and that many people will graduate to Intersect, which offers a lot more and yet is very simple to use,” said Rinearson. “Nobody has to give up Facebook to use Intersect; the two work hand-in-hand.”
It’s also worth noting that Rinearson brought up the “P” word in his post: Patents.
“We’ve been investing and inventing in this space for a long time,” he wrote. “We have two issued patents and have applied for patents on 39 additional inventions. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, and very excited about new features rolling out later this fall.”
In an interview with GeekWire last month, Rinearson also stressed the company’s strong technology position when he stated that they intend to “vigorously create and defend” the company’s intellectual property.
Asked today whether he believes there are any potential infringements by Facebook in its latest offering, Rinearson said: “You never know until patents issue, and that takes years.”