Over the long July 4th weekend here in the States, an invite from new social website Pownce appeared in my Inbox. And since I am on every other web 2.0 social website, I scooted over to their site to signup and nab the client software.
For those of you on the twitter-train, Pownce extends the async IM broadcast beyond simple text to new data types like URLs, files and events. And instead of the normal all private or all public security stance, Pownce lets you send /IM|Tweets|WhateverKevinRoseDubsThem/ to all your friends, a specific friend or the public. It also includes client software, built on Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR, which was formerly Apollo).
While I was not dazzled like the folks at Mashable, I did think it is a credible beta effort at extending what Jaiku, Twitter and IM have started. I especially liked the default client (say what you like about Adobe's technologies, they do make some good interface tools), the baby steps of inclusion of structured data and the more structured broadcasting security. I have often wanted to be able to cast some of my twitters to specific groups without maintaining several twitter accounts. They have also built this on some interesting technologies.
This isn't to say that I was completely enamored by the service. I believe that their are some substantial gaps in the initial offering. Among them:
- The client software is only Mac or Windows (due to AIR only have Mac and Windows runtimes). While Linux and Solaris aren't mainstream client OSes, they are early adopter environments.
- There are no public APIs (yet). This makes the preceding problem even more of a problem. I think the Twitter folks would trace a large uptick in their traffic to Twitterrific's release. I'm not alone here.
- So they make some "pownces" look like structured data .. . but they aren't. Why can't the events be in hCal (or even iCal) ? Yeah, I could send people the actual iCal file . . . but seriously.
- Lack of mobile client and SMS gateway. Crucial. Major, major deficiency.
While this isn't everything, it certainly raises the bar for Twitter (the guys with the US community behind them) and Jaiku (which has a sizeable Euro following and richer features).
Anyhoo, if you've made it all the way through this post and still want to join Pownce, drop me an email or comment and I'll try to wing one of my TEN invites to you posthaste.