Pip.io comes out of beta, mostly

I wrote about Pip.io at the end of October and I was very impressed with the product in its beta form. If you have not yet read the post, you should. The product, as I wrote about it then, has not changed dramatically in terms of functionality. The team has focused on the underlying platform and has made some very nice improvements on the usability and performance fronts.

Alright, do you want the good news, or the bad news, first? Take your time, I am going to refill my coffee, be right back……. Okay, I’m back, what did you decide? The bad news first? Alright, your choice…

The bad news

The integrations with Twitter and Facebook were no longer available when the product was released. The loss, while not permanent, was a major disappointment. While not a permanent loss I do feel Pip.io should have delayed the first release to make sure these capabilities were included. On the plus side, the team has worked around the clock and, having seen the progress, and effort, being put forth by people like David Chen, I know the functionality will soon be back.

The other bad news is that this team is working around the clock to deliver what will be a great product and they probably need more pizza. Leo, as the CEO, I urge you to bring in a constant supply of food.

The good news

Leo, and his team, are building for the future. While we have temporarily seen a loss of functionality it is due to the underlying changes to support the development of 3rd party applications. This means:

– The new Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube applications are being on top of a toolkit that others will be able to leverage in the near future. Want to add a FourSquare application for Pip.io? You’ll have the tools available very soon.
– The power of this tool set will go far beyond social applications and channels. Link your CRM system with Pip.io, for example, to turn these new channels into actionable information. Not satisfied? Tie your VOIP phone system in as an application to better unify all of your communications, all of your data.
– A marketplace will grow from this capability. If properly executed…. Watch out.

Pip.io supports video chat without the requirement of downloading a client or plug-in. This is huge and could eventually lead me to drop Skype (far down the road).

What I want to see from Pip.io?

I like the vision Pip.io has for the future. I like the application as it will look in a couple of weeks. I like the energy and passion this team demonstrates. With that said, if Pip.io is going to truly differentiate itself and become and indispensable part of my tool set and a key part of yours, they will need to look at the following soon:

– Make it mobile. This is on the short-term roadmap, need it soon.
– Make rooms embeddable. I want to embed Pip.io rooms on my blog, sooner than later.
– Make it possible to brand rooms.
– Create mail and phone applications to plug into Pip.io. If I can access all my applications from within Pip.io I will never leave it.
– Make it work on IE8.
– Provide a Foursquare equivalent. Okay, I want to play more with this space but committed to walking away from Foursquare…. I may eventually have to go back on that…

The ideas behind Pip.io remain intact and the potential for the product is huge. However, the product remains a work in progress and I can’t yet give it a complete thumbs up. It’s close though, stay tuned.


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