Ping.fm, the way web services should be done?

ping fm logo

So I've finally signed up with Ping.fm thanks to David Owens giving me a update to date code for ping.fm.

So what is Ping.Fm and why do I find it very interesting.

Well according to the website.

Ping.fm is a simple service that makes updating your social networks a snap.

Its a service which will pass on your single message (or ping) to other services. So in practice I can message ping.fm and the message appear on plaxo pulse, twitter, jaiku, plurk, facebook and linked in. Of course it does more than that but those are the ones I'm interested. Whats even better is Ping.fm has im, email and applications of its own. So one of my biggest frustrations is twitters im bot which never bloody works, should be solved.

Its also good to see the setup with other services part is done without revealing your username and password when ever possible. But there are a couple services like twitter and plurk where you must. What would have been ideal is OpenID logins, but few of these services support that right now anyway. Actually on Plaxo, I had to go find the login details because I'm so use to using OpenID.

Once your setup, you can just go to the site and type in your messages which get ping'ed elsewhere. But thats not where it ends, nope you can setup custom and service triggers which allow you to route a message based on a rule you setup or something a service does. So imagine Twitter stopped working (yeah when does that happen?), you could divert messages to another service which you may only use in emergencies. I was trying to work out if you get ping.fm to watch for messages which came through another service and echo those out to the rest of services. So say I SMS twitter, Ping.fm sees the twitter messages, notices its not on my Jaiku and reposts it there.

As mentioned before there is many ways to post to ping.fm but no SMS yet. Right now you can use a facebook application, a load of im bots including xmpp via gtalk, google gadget and even a iphone and wap client! Of course more importantly there's a developer API.

Why do I think Ping.fm is that great? Well its using the web as it should be. There was never a reason why you had to sign into different services to leave messages. Ping.fm is like a layer above all the crazyness going on in the social messaging space. I don't know if I quite trust it yet, currently my hand is forced because I hate the alternative. However these guys are going about the whole thing in the correct way. I love the fact there's from day one im bots and a api. This means once I've setup my services, I don't really ever have to log into ping.fm ever again. This might sound shocking but theres another service which is like this. Dopplr, is trying to be quite transparent in its deliver and use to people. So you can setup Dopplr with your personal calendar, its pulls out places and will inform your friends once you clash. No need to really go back to the site ever really (unless you want reviews and your carbon footprint). There is always a question of how these services will make money without advertising but I don't know maybe a pro version ala Flickr or they could sell the attention data being generated from the messages going through there services?

Who knows, but right now I'm pretty impressed with ping.fm. Once they have SMS gateways its going to be even better.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.