PingGadget hit my radar last week and I immediately thought to myself, “Oh great, a twitter clone that isn’t Twitter but wants to be. Lame.” Being dedicated to reporting on all the tech news in Flyover Country requires me to investigate and report on every story that I think would interest our readers and so I checked out PingGadget just to see what, exactly, made them think they could take on twitter.
After speaking for approximately an hour to CEO Dennis Moulton I quickly reversed my thinking; PingGadget doesn’t need to worry about Twitter.
At first glance, PingGadget appears to be the same thing Twitter is; a real time feed answering the question, “What are you doing right now?” When I got on the phone with Moulton the first thing I asked him was, “Why in the world would anyone use PingGadget instead of Twitter?” Instead of giving me an answer telling me his service was better, Moulton said straight out, “We are at the beginning of what Microblogging is; it is in its infancy and there is no ‘lingua franca’ tying everything together. “
If the last ten years have taught us anything, it is that the bigger a tech company gets, the faster it falls when someone smarter, hungrier and faster comes calling. Remember that cutting edge search engine Alta Vista that solved the search problem? How about Friendster and MySpace?
Google and Facebook were both upstart competitors in their respective niches and ran down their competition like a Mack Truck does a rabbit at 75 m.p.h on a Texas highway.
Twitter came on the scene and now has become a giant player wielding influence far and wide. Ashton Kutcher beat Larry King in a very P.R. inducing battle for Twitter supremacy and brought the service into the mainstream consciousness.
The only thing we hear about Twitter now is, “how is Twitter going to monetize?” as if, now that Twitter is everywhere and complete, all that remains is to make it into a money printing machine.
At the other end of the spectrum lies PingGadget, doing what Twitter can do (albeit without a plugged in user base yet) but not even close to being complete.
“Microblogging can be better and PingGadget has a lot going on under the hood. We are going to listen to our beta users and add features and functionality that they need and want as we go along. “
Then came the killer statement: “Sure, right now we look like Twitter but to build out the Microblogging ecosystem we have to have the anchor product that lets us build out features and add-ons as we go along. That is what PingGadget is now.”
While Twitter and the pundits who love to write about it scratch their heads and try to come up with monetization plans, PingGadget is working on adding features and functionality that go far beyond what Twitter is and what it can do.
“We want to do location really well,” Moulton went on, “and all this is going to take time. We have the foundation in place and are going to build on it as our beta community starts to tell us the types of features they’d like to see.”
Moulton also discussed how PingGadget is looking for community leaders in cities across the U.S. to bring their circles of friends and colleagues to PingGadget. Such leaders would help PingGadget determine what features to incorporate to the product as it goes along much the same way Facebook has evolved rapidly over the last few years.
Right now PingGadget allows users to post pictures and videos right to their “Pings” and as the service evolves more will be available. Users can also tie in their Twitter accounts to post simultaneously on their PingGadget feed.
While I said I am not in the business of making predictions, I am going to go on the record here: Two years from now Twitter is going to get a case of ‘MySpace-itis’ as PingGadget passes it by in features and functionality.
Feel free to mark your calendars for 2012 and either cheer or jeer this prediction as is appropriate.
Now I’ll put the question to Flyover Country: What do you all think? Can PingGadget ‘out-twitter’ Twitter? What does Microblogging need to make it better?