This week, Doug and I spoke with Meetroduction CEO Paul Bragiel about Meetro, an IM and Mobile Social Networking (MoSoSo) platform currently in beta development. Meetro's garnered a lot of attention in recent weeks, and characterizes itself to newcomers as "radius and proximity-based software...that gets you on the town with old friends or new acquaintances."
Among the topics discussed were Meetro's competitive posture with respect to existing IM and social networking platforms, privacy and security issues and Meetro's roadmap to black ink. Paul told us that his platform will never charge its users directly, opting to focus instead on partnerships and perhaps on sponsored advertising.
Location-aware social software technologies such as Dodgeball and MIT Media Lab's 'Reality Mining' project have already raised some important issues. They will become even more powerful as applicable technologies improve and technical constraints are loosened. Meetro has done some exciting development that allows wifi-enabled laptops to locate themselves geographically based on a map of hotspots, but scalability questions lead me to suspect even this is a stopgap measure. It seems to me, then, that Meetro is smart to build its core user base now, priming the network for even more rapid growth once the relevant technologies mature.
One aspect of Meetro that strikes me is its all-inclusive orientation. Paul mentioned that he sees the service as complimentary to existing SN and IM platforms, and expects Meetro to grow along a similarly egalitarian path. I'll be interested to see whether the platform encouters an even distribution of adoption, or whether self-feeding 'islands' of users begin to emerge.
In the meantime, if you've got 5 minutes, 5 megs and a Windows PC, you can test drive Meetro by grabbing the latest build directly from the homepage. You can catch me online as I'll be experimenting as well -- my Meetro name is 'Jon Turow'.
Hopefully, Paul will join us in a future call and let us know how things are going. Until then, best of luck to him and his team.
You can grab the podcast by clicking here (WMA, 2.4MB) .