March 5th, 2009

Fly away! Be free! Shizzow launches from Portland nest in preparation for SXSW Interactive


We’ve all been watching Shizzow come into its own, from its early beginnings as a Portland-only tool to its expanding private beta to its API.

It’s been a true Portland success story. And very much embraced as a Portland tool by the Web community around here.

But there comes a time when every little startup needs to leave the nest. When it needs to spread its wings and explore the broader market.

Today, Shizzow goes national with a public launch of their social location service.

Shizzow’s new home

According to the announcement:

Today we are announcing the public launch of Shizzow, a location-based friend finder where you can declare your location, and it will notify all of your friends so that they may come join you for a drink or a cup of coffee. Shizzow has been in private beta since August 2008 with invites open only to a limited number of people in Oregon, California, and Washington. Anyone in the United States can now sign up for Shizzow with no invite required.

Why now? Shizzow has big plans for SXSW—the annual geek get together in Austin, Texas—where people are constantly trying to figure out “Where the heck are you?”

You may remember that Twitter took off at SXSW in 2007 by helping people find one another. Since then, everyone has had aspirations of recreating that magic. Shizzow has a good chance to do so, given that it’s even better suited for that “Where the heck are you?” task. Plus, they’re promising some features specifically targeted at the SXSW crowd.

But wait. There’s more.

Not only is Shizzow opening up, they’re also unveiling some of the apps that have been developed using the Shizzow API. And opening the public beta of that API.

Here’s a look at some of the apps that have already taken advantage of the API:

IceCondor

IceCondor is an android application that allows you to follow people and events in real-time. IceCondor takes advantage of map coordinates embedded in RSS feeds (called GeoRSS feeds) and allows them to appear as red markers on googlemaps. IceCondor works with multiple services including Brightkite, Shizzow, and Upcoming.org. Built by @donpdonp.

Shizzeeps (Alpha)

Shizzeeps.com shows you which shizzow users (known as shizzeeps) are congregating where at the moment. It also allows you to see their shout messages, and even send your own ephemeral message to the group at a particular place. Shizzeeps also offers a Twitter service: follow @shizzeeps to get updates every 15 minutes. Built by @crunchysue.

Shizzup (Alpha)

An iPhone client with list and map views of people and places, detection of nearby places to shout from, ability to auto-shout, and more. You currently need to build the Shizzup client from the source code to use it. Built by @wajiii.

f’shizzow (Alpha)

A simple Shizzow application for Android to quickly find out where your friends are, or find out who’s nearby and listen to them. See their locations on a map, or their recent shout history. Browse nearby places, search for places by name and tag, add to your favorites, and shout from them. Automatically detect your location using GPS/wifi, or manually set it on a map for finer control. You currently need to build the f’shizzow client from the source code to use it. Built by @petercowan.

Baken (Alpha)

Baken is an Android (and iPhone, eventually) app that automatically finds nearby locations from Shizzow’s database. It also provides much of the functionality found on m.shizzow.com. Matt also has plans to take the app in new directions in the near future. Built by @mattg.

Exciting times for the bootstrapped Portland startup. Here’s hoping they continue to soar. And I’ll be sure to report on how they’re received by the crowd down at SXSW.

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8 Responses to “Fly away! Be free! Shizzow launches from Portland nest in preparation for SXSW Interactive”

  1. faryl says:

    Looks cool – always love a success story!

    Quick question – aside from its way cooler name – how is Shizzow different than Brightkite? Is it different, or does it plan to compete in BrightKite’s space?

  2. Dawn Foster says:

    faryl,

    We’re happy you like the name – it’s just fun to say :)

    We do compete with Brightkite, but we also think that the two services are pretty different.

    Many of the current location-based services (like Brightkite) are striving to become the Facebook of location. Shizzow strives to be the Twitter of location, where the focus is solely on finding and hanging out with your friends. We keep things simple by putting the focus on spending time with your friends in the real world, and we leave the online social networking in the hands of the other services.

  3. Huge congrats to the Shizzow crew for their launch today!!

  4. Aleta says:

    Great to see Shizzow launching (and from Portland too!) Not only is Portland a great place to live but there is such a great talent that lives here!

  5. faryl says:

    @dawn – Gotcha! Appreciate the clarification. Figured you guys had something more or different to offer and wanted to get my arms around it :-)

    Congrats on the launch – I wish you guys the best!

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