August 31st, 2010

Portland’s PingGadget purports to take a page from Twitter and a page from Foursquare


Portland’s PingGadget purports to take a page from Twitter and a page from Foursquare

Sometimes, there is a better wheel. Sometimes, a market has an 800 lbs gorilla that could use a little toppling. And yes, sometimes, I use inane marketing drivel when I can’t think of any better way to get into an article.

But see? Now we’ve made it through the intro. So I can tell you about PingGadget, a new Portland startup that’s looking to take the best of Twitter’s short format and combine it with Foursquare-esque location information to deliver a new microblogging platform.

PingGadget purports to match location information to short messages in a way that will change the way people think about sending small snippets of text.

The PingGadget service specifically focuses on location-centric benefits and use cases and includes a powerful location and category directory. PingGadget features a 493 city location directory with a custom topic directory, including location-centric topics like jobs, classifieds, recycled goods, events, nightlife, music, and volunteering opportunities.

Now, I say “purports” because honestly, I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve just had a chance to read up on it. And you know what? You may be able to see it first. If you’re available for lunch today.

PingGadget – a new microblogging site started by two 2005 University of Portland graduates (Steve Nguyen and Dennis Moulton) and based in Salem, Oregon – will be hosting a lunch and conducting a demonstration of their software. It will begin at noon, is open to all, and will be located at the Hall of Fame Room inside the Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd.

So if this sounds like something you might want to see, head on over to UP at noon to get a glimpse. I’ll just sit here and wait for my beta invite.

No, no. Don’t worry about me. You kids run along and have your lunches. With your cool demos and whatnot. I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Granted, this isn’t the first foray into this type of functionality that the Silicon Forest has seen. Far from it. Most long-time Silicon Florist readers will remember that Shizzow, Simler, and CitySpeek all made similar attempts to provide folks with that type of functionality. Shizzow with its location based shouts, Simler with its topical focus, and CitySpeek with its additional features to extend the traditional 140 character format.

And—if they haven’t already—the PingGagdget folks would be wise to seek the counsel of the creators of those products because they are sure to have some interesting tales to tell. (Especially that Ryan Snyder guy, who just happened to get hired on full time at Mozilla, recently.)

One thing is for sure, the market has changed—somewhat drastically even—since some of those previous forays into microblogging. And Twitter has now become a household word. Foursquare isn’t far behind.

Is the time ripe for another platform? We’ll have to see. Whatever the case, we’ll be keeping an eye on this latest entrant into the stream of consciousness, short message world with great interest.

For more information or to get your beta invite, visit PingGadget. For more insight, see this interview from December 2009 with PingGadget CEO Dennis Moulton.

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10 Responses to “Portland’s PingGadget purports to take a page from Twitter and a page from Foursquare”

  1. The site appears to have some sort of beta signup thing, but the captcha is broken (or else I’m super useless this morning – always a possibility). So, Rick, you could tirelessly attempt to get into the beta via the website…I myself might be headed to the lunch.

  2. Steven Walling says:

    To add to what JP said, the signup form is sort of intimidating. Maybe I’m lazy, but if you’re going to hook me into another social service, the barrier to entry needs to be lower.

    That said, the site looks interesting and they seem to have their act together from the get-go. No half-assed Portland side project here. ;)

    Best of luck!

  3. Jmartens says:

    Great to see another product launch from the Portland area! Seems like it has been a while.

    I could provide a ton of feedback on my experience if these guys wanted….just let me know. In the meantime, here are two critical things I wish I would have done with CitySpeek:

    1. Launch with mobile apps or at least a fully functional mobile web site.

    2. Integrate with Twitter from the launch….adding friends, cross-posting, etc.

    Don’t bother if you aren’t gonna do those 2 things sooner rather than later.

  4. Dennis says:

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    @J-PTook a look at CAPTCHA and added a case sensitive notice. We have a better fix coming.

    @Steven thanks I think we can make the form even shorter

    @Jmarten would love to talk about CitySpeek if you are available

  5. Parched says:

    “And Twitter has now become a household word. Foursquare isn’t far behind. ”

    Twitter = over 100,000,000 Registrations
    Foursquare = 3,000,000 Registrations with Forrester projections indicating only about 25% use it.

    Foursquare is pretty far behind, unless you only read tech blogs. As a “household word,” it’s probably 1/100th of Twitter.

    Sorry. Couldn’t help but comment. The Foursquare hype machine needs a bit of perspective, whenever, sort of. To the point of this post, it’s also where we need some perspective about Location Based Services and user adoption. It may be a bunch of wishful thinking, one summer, when there wasn’t much else going on (other than wars, natural and man made disasters and the continuing rise of Palin).

  6. Rick Turoczy says:

    Great point. I was thinking more about their recognition due to said hype. Like them being honored by the World Economic Forum.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2010/09/01/foursquare-among-world-economic-forums-tech-pioneers/

  7. Ryan Snyder says:

    Thanks Rick – I’ve connected with Dennis and I’ll throw all of my “what not to do” tidbits his way :)

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