Creating a Facebook for Your Couch (Really!)

My couch really needs a Facebook (or maybe LinkedIn) page. It's kind of mid-century modern and possibly valuable, but I wouldn't know because I bought it from a vintage place where it was cheap. I'd love to know more about it, but the manufacturer doesn't really have that sort of data available and neither does anyone else.

That's precisely the problem that Joe Einhorn wants to solve, according to a profile of his semi-stealth business in The New York Observer. He has his own nerdy name for this Facebook of Stuff but I think I've got the perfect name for a social network in which you are measured and connected to others only through your possessions: The URL is available. (I checked.)

Imagine browsing the Web and being able to learn about any piece of clothing, from any image, on any Web site, with just the push of a button. Instead of just cataloging their friends on Facebook, users could begin to build inventories of their possessions as well.

Tied into all of this, inevitably, would include sharing, swapping, selling and shopping. Mr. Einhorn, 29, is thin and excitable, with a buzzed head and stylish clothes he admits his wife picks out. "I think of objects as the last great uncharted territory on the map," he said, playing with a rolling chair in his office. "Who's knows what this guy's story is," he said, referring to the chair. He pushed off the table with his foot, spinning the chair in a tight circle.

He calls his project "Thing daemon," or Thingd for short. A daemon is a computer program that runs in the background, named not for satanic minions but for the ancient Greek concept of a daemon: something that is not visible, yet is always present and working its will.

The daemon is one-half of Mr. Einhorn's plan to create the world's best database of objects. Programs that he and his team created crawl the Web constantly, examining images and identifying objects based on surrounding text, tags, ID numbers, even the shape, size and color of the images themselves. "We've got hundreds of millions of objects in our database," says Mr. Einhorn, "and we're adding more than two million a week."

Read the full story at New York Observer.