Leah Culver, Kevin Rose and a few other interesting Californians with software aspirations you may have heard of have quietly (not so quiet considering the crowd of Kevin watchers out there) launched their combined effort Pownce.
Looking over the screen shots already up, I think that a comprable set of applications would be Campfire and Backpack from 37 Signals. The focus is on personal use, with a social networking slant. In the San Fran area I expect that this will be all the rage for a few months, and then when it opens up to the general public the original crowd will move on just like Flickr before it.
Thoughts on viability
I like the idea, and love that it is all built on the fabric of other services. S3 as long been interesting to me, and I have wondered how long until products other than storage related services would come to use it. The project is a veritable alphabet soup that is sure to please the geek elite and with the Likes of Kevin and Daniel Burka of Digg, and Revision3 there is actually quite a lot of business savvy in the group, and more than enough web 2.0 street cred to pull Leah up among the luminaries of the San Francisco software/culture center driving many of the current acquisition fodder for the web heavies.
This does in many ways remind me of IM with persistence, and should commandeer one or all of the IM clients out there and incorporate it/them. With all the web based every-IM-client-under-the-sun clones out there such as meebo or ebuddy, I have to assume that this is a somewhat "known" variable that would be a logical addition. If they plan on living on Advert dollars the longer they can keep my eyes on their application the better for them, and an all in one im/fileshare/social application is better than twitter desktop+file sharing.
Second Thoughts and Hesitations
As much as I like the idea of the seamless sharing of items from the desktop there is definitely some inertia about having to create a new circle of people. Most perspective users already have facebook/myspace/
My final though, that is in no means a detraction but more of a open ended question for Pownce to answer in the long term: "With the similarities to so many products that already have the jump on you in terms of first mover advantage what makes you compelling?"
Twitter gives us status (though flakey), flickr lets us share photos, Myspace/Facebook let us keep up to date on friends comings and goings(reunion.com for the older set) with IM and personal blogs/sites for the rest. If you can stitch all that together the application and the fabric you built it on could really grab the long tail, if not you could be a local celebrity to a small group of San Franciscans.
Tags: Pownce, Web Dev, San Fransisco