Shizzow Expands Beyond the Rose City

November 20th, 2008 3 Comments

I’ve mentioned Portland-based Shizzow a few times in the past in posts about geo-aware services and networking.

Shizzow has been open to Portlanders only until this week, but Tuesday they added the Bay Area. And now today, Seattle is also supported.

Full disclosure: I know all the principles that make up the little Shizzow operation. They’re all working on Shizzow as a side-project (read in addition to regular jobs), and they’re bootstrapping rather than taking outside money, a good call considering the current economy.

Oh yeah, what is Shizzow? It’s (another) geo-location social network. Its purpose is simplicity, born out of necessity. Portland has a huge nomadic geek population, bouncing around the many wi-fi coffeehouse and mobile working locations around town.

Shizzow’s goal is to make ad-hoc meetups and gatherings happen more easily. Rather than broadcasting the address of your current (or soon-to-be) location, Shizzow has a collection of human-understandable locations from which you can “shout”, e.g. if I’m at CubeSpace and I want to grab some lunch, I can shout my location as CubeSpace, rather than 622 SE Grand.

This makes it easier for my friends to know where I am. Shizzow has several ways to shout, web page (natch), IM, SMS, Google Gadget. Oddly, there is no Twitter integration. I’ve asked about that several times. The Shizzow web page interface supports Mozilla Geoge, which is nice when Geode has a clue about where you are.

If you’re wondering, yes, it sounds like Brightkite and Loopt and “insert geo-aware social network name here”. Dawn Foster, Shizzow’s community manager, differentiates for us:

We developed Shizzow to solve a specific need: the desire to find our friends and hang out with them. The other services had so much clutter that we weren’t able to effectively solve our need using any of the existing location-based applications. We aren’t out to convert our competitors’ users over to Shizzow; plenty of people find value in these other location-based services. However, if you are focused on connecting with your friends in the real world, and like us, you need a better way to find your friends, we hope you will give Shizzow a try.

I find Shizzow suffers from the same gap that all the other do; I can never remember to update it when I go somewhere. Maybe I don’t move around enough. That’s why I’ve been asking for a Twitter bot from the beginning; I’m on Twitter frequently. I sometimes remember to tweet when I’m on the go. Therefore, a Twitter bot would be the best way to get me to shout my location.

This was what I really liked about Firebot, the Twitter bot for Fire Eagle, which has since gone dark, a casualty of the loss of XMPP/IM integration.

Anyway, with a small development crew (three?) who all have day jobs, Shizzow has managed to do quite a lot. So, if you live in Portland, Seattle or the Bay Area, or have a bunch of friends in those regions and visit there a lot, drop a comment for an invite to Shizzow, or hit up @shizzow on Twitter.

Like everything, it’s a beta service, but of course, they’re looking for feedback. So, if you’re interested check it out and send your thoughts to them (or put them in comments here).

Although, based on the comments (or lack thereof) on the geo-related posts I’ve done here, I’m guessing not many of you will care very much.

Prove me wrong.


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3 Responses to “Shizzow Expands Beyond the Rose City”

  1. Martin Says:

    If you want a service that works outside of just Portland or Seattle, check out http://www.rondayvoo.com.

  2. Jake Says:

    Shizzow also works in the Bay Area, and yes, it's a crowded space. I also mention Loopt and Brightkite in the post, both of which are unconstrained by geography.

  3. Teaching English in Taiwan Says:

    Insightful read. I have just bookmarked this at stumbleupon. Hope others find it as interesting as I did.

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