Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

IntoNow: It’s Like Shazam Plus Foursquare for TV

IntoNow, a new iOS app launching today, identifies television programs by just hearing snippets from them. It’s similar to the Shazam mobile app that many people know and love, which IDs an ambient song by recording it and quickly matching it to an archive.

IntoNow users can “check in” to a particular episode once it’s been recognized, like one would check into a restaurant on Foursquare. The goal is to enable conversations around the watercooler and on social networks by helping users connect around what they’re watching and discover new things to watch.

It’s common knowledge that the only thing people love more than watching TV is talking about it, but none of the many “social TV” start-ups–GetGlue, Miso, Philo, Comcast’s Tunerfish etc.–has emerged as a clear leader. Unlike the competition, IntoNow isn’t trying to provide a platform for conversations, but rather to show what people are watching.

Still, it’s not clear people want to download an app to tell themselves and their friends what they’re already watching on television.

IntoNow can recognize both live television and five years of archived U.S. TV airings. It constantly analyzes satellite feeds and matches them to TV listings to have current data.

Adam Cahan, the CEO of IntoNow, says his company’s TV recognition technology–which it calls SoundPrint–is akin to a GPS, which takes the hassle out of figuring out exactly which restaurant you’re at and matching it to something like Foursquare’s database.

Cahan’s company was very recently spun out of Auditude, a company where Cahan was also CEO. IntoNow’s seven employees and its technology were all formerly part of Auditude, actually. That company, which just raised $11 million from investors including Greylock Partners and Redpoint Ventures, has shifted away from video identification to video advertising management. IntoNow has yet to raise its own funding, but Greylock and Redpoint already have equity in the start-up.

In addition to creating a feed of what episodes they’re watching, IntoNow users can share on Facebook and Twitter, look up programs on IMDb, add shows to their Netflix queues and purchase episodes on iTunes.

The name “IntoNow” comes from the expression “What are you into now?” IntoNow hopes other companies will build SoundPrint audio recognition into their own social TV products. SoundPrint has 2.6 million airings in its catalog, is constantly recording 130 channels and needs four to 12 seconds of audio to make a match.

While it’s only iOS for now, IntoNow and SoundPrint are in development for Android and Web-enabled televisions.

IntoNow eventually hopes to help content owners validate that their watchers are participating with live content, and help the TV industry measure advertising and viewership metrics without relying on a panel.