Better than Facebook - Better than Twitter - Introducing Pip.io.

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Pip.io is a new revolutionary way to communicate and share with others on the web. Based on the attempts to create a digital representation of real-world privacy spectrums, Pip.io allows users to communicate how they want with who they want in real-time.

As good as Facebook and Twitter are, they don’t allow users to selectively communicate. Imagine, for instance, that a user's telephone conversations were accessible to everyone in that user's phone book? Enter Pip.io, the world’s first social operating system that helps people communicate the way they want.

Pip.io is a social operating system (OS) made up of two distinct domains: the “social” and the “OS.” The “social” aspect is Pip.io's native real-time communications platform. In seeing how people communicate, we looked at the spectrum of privacy in the physical world and adapted its multiple scopes to an online system. This spectrum ranges from very private (think one-on-one IM chats) to what we refer to as “global voyeurism” (like what we see on Facebook and Twitter). But what about all those scopes in between? They’re exactly what we all miss when we hold back on Facebook or Twitter because we’re worried about who will read our updates. Pip.io helps people define their audience so that they can communicate on the web as effortlessly as they do in the real world.

Do we expect people to abandon their Facebook and Twitter accounts? Of course not. Those platforms are extremely good at facilitating conversations at the “global voyeur” end of the privacy spectrum. This brings us to the “OS” part of Pip.io. To make an operating system, we needed to be able to bring third-party apps into Pip.io's eco-system. This has traditionally been done by aggregation: see Brizzly, FriendFeed, etc. Those services pull in and push out data. We wanted to do more than that. Pip.io aims for full functionality—and in most cases, enhancement—of third-party applications. The Netflix application, for example, has full functionality: logging in with a Netflix account will allow a user to use the live-streaming functionality right in the OS. Netflix subscribers could potentially enjoy such extended functionality as group synchronous viewing: if someone paused a video, it would pause for everyone in the group; if someone jumped to a certain point in a clip, it would do the same for everyone else, in real-time.

People think of these privacy scopes as abstract concepts, but they form the basis of the environments in Pip.io's native eco-system that facilitate conversation. And a third party could use these privacy scopes to facilitate anything it wanted. For example, we have an area called “Rooms.” At its most basic, a room is an environment where users can invite people to join and accept invitations from others. Netflix, for one, could use the “Rooms” API to facilitate the invitation process for the synchronous group video-viewing feature.

The traditional definition of an OS has been software that connects third-party applications to hardware resources. But as virtualization and cloud computing get more sophisticated, hardware resources become less relevant. So, what other resources would be of greatest benefit to both consumers and third-party developers? We think social resources. We have essentially created APIs for different scopes of the real-world privacy spectrum—thus the “OS” aspect of Pip.io. Developers would be able to use Pip.io's API to create rich applications that take advantage of Pip.io's real-time platform and that enable users to communicate exactly how and with whoever they want.

Pip.io's mission is to empower every individual voice—but not only voices: also those thoughts that no one ever shares because no platform exists to deliver them. MySpace was all about connecting with strangers who had similar interests. Facebook connected us to people who we knew. Pip.io now helps us organize the people we know so that we can say what we want to who we want.

Today, Pip.io is officially dropping beta and announcing the addition of several features:

Layout Upgrade
The most obvious enhancement is the new layout. Now, every individual item can be collapsed to the top menu bar for easier access and organization. We've also switched to HTML5 and CSS3, which make for a much leaner and faster version of the product.

Easy Video Chat
Pip.io has implemented no-download, no-plugin, web-based P2P video chat. This means that as long as users have a properly functioning webcam attached to their computer, video chatting is as easy as signing up and sending a request. No more software to download and install, no more plug-ins to add to the browser.

Posting
Whenever users post something—whether an actual post, a reply or a forward—the postbox appears in a convenient floating window. This allows users to post with minimal interruption to the other things they're doing. The new forwarding action allows users to forward posts either privately or publicly (forwarding something publicly is the same as retweeting in Twitter).

Rooms
Now users can create public and private rooms. With private rooms, users can restrict who has access to their group's content; with public rooms, their content is open to anyone. Because Pip.io treats rooms almost like users, users can subscribe to them to get constant updates.

Introducing the Applications Store
Although Pip.io itself makes applications, its ultimate goal is to let third-party developers create them. Although public APIs aren't available to third-party developers currently, we are working on them. We're excited to release the App Store at the conceptual stage so that it can grow organically as we prepare for more third-party apps.

Pip.io will continue to launch many features throughout the month to strengthen the core product as well as work on the developer platform and mobile applications as well.

About Pip.io
Founded in October 2008, Pip.io is a communication tool that makes it easy for anyone to share on the web in real time. Anyone can sign up for Pip.io for free and communicate with people at a real-world level. Pipio Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco, California.

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Leo Shimizu
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