IBM experiments with Socializer technology

IBM wants to make it easier for technology buffs to socialise.

This week, Big Blue has made available on its alphaWorks site for emerging technologies software called Socializer, a peer-to-peer application that connects users to other people and services in the same location.

Using an Open Service Gateway initiative (OSGi) interface and either a wireless or wired connection, Socializer allows those sharing the application to chat or send files.

Users can create profiles and exchange personal information based on pre-defined interests, according to IBM. The technology could, for example, enable trade show attendees to find persons of similar interests at the show, IBM vice-president of developer marketing and web communities for developer relations, Gina Poole, said.

Socializer enables creation of user lists similar to an Instant Messaging buddy list, according to IBM.

"If you go to developerWorks (IBM's developer conference), developers may have handheld devices or laptops, and if Socializer is running on those devices and (developers are) looking for an expert in the crowd who knows about Web services, they can communicate that with other folks who have set their profile so everybody can find it," Poole said. "It allows you to dynamically connect and communicate with people who are in the vicinity."

Seeking input on how to best develop and possibly productise the technology, the company has put Socializer on its alphaWorks site for download at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/socializer.

The technology possibly could be included in other products or made available for licensing by ISVs, Poole said.

Discovery with Socializer is done via sending out broadcast messages on the local subnet. Socializer is a Java- based client that supports handhelds running Pocket PC, Palm, Linux, or Windows laptops.

Socializer emerged from IBM's Extreme Blue program, which matches technical and business students from universities to experiment with new technologies. Students were assigned the task of finding a "killer app" for OSGi on mobile devices, according to IBM.

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