Twitpic founder launches Heello
Twitpic founder Noah Everett announces the launch of Heello today. His second web app project has been in the wings for exactly one year. Twitter has launched its own photo-sharing tool, offering a native version of a feature that until now was mostly the domain of third-party apps like Twitpic and yfrog. This move puts pressure on those third-party apps as a logical choice for photo-sharing that uses Twitter’s API.
I have mashed up an exclusive by Jolie O’Dell and a few of my first experiences with Heello after its unofficial launch day.
Everett is hitting the streets with his own microblogging competitor that includes embed photo-sharing capabilities right out of the gate. Rumors of video-sharing and check-ins are in the works. I spoke with Ryan LeFevre, Software/Systems Engineer, on Heello today to see if he would share some future project details. He said, “we have a lot of new features to build on top of these core features.”
In addition to updates, which are called pings, the service also allows for following (“listening” to) other people and sending and receiving replies. You can also “echo,” or repost, a ping from fellow users. I found the usability to be a direct correlation to twitter but it has a number of tweaks and bugs that need to be worked out.
“If Twitter can compete with its developers without fair notice, then why can’t we?” he quipped.
To see the service in action, check out the live stream of public activity.
On a more serious note, Everett said that the timing of his launch was more an event of ironic serendipity than a planned stab at Twitter. “Twitter rolling out their photo option to everyone yesterday was a complete coincidence,” said Everett, “but I’m glad the timing happened that way.”
The founder also noted that Twitpic itself won’t be fading into obscurity any time soon. “Twitpic will continue to still live on; we’ve got a huge base of loyal users and we still want to continue to provide them with the best service possible,” he said.
Originally, Heello began as a completely different product that revolved around “email and making it suck less,” said Everett. “But not too long ago, we decided… social is fun, and we have experience at it.”
So does the young founder think Heello has the makings of a real Twitter competitor?
“I think anyone has a fair shot at competing with anyone,” Everett said.
I believe Everett has learned the good and bad from Twitpic and has put those ideas into Heello’s DNA. Steve Corona, CTO of @heello and @twitpic, noted, “we’ve taken all of our knowledge from building twitpic to make heello extremely scalable and fault tolerant.”
In the near future, Everett and team are planning to launch video support, checkins, SMS integration, mobile applications, and something new that doesn’t relate to any of Twitter’s features: Channels. This is only the beginning.
“Channels will let users be grouped together, and users can then ‘listen’ to a channel to see all their pings,” said Everett. For example, you could set up a channel for dog lovers, people in a particular neighborhood, etc.
“We’re just trying to evolve on what microblogging is now and fill in the gaps for the users. People love to share what they are doing with photos, videos and where they are, we want to make that experience seamless and easy.”
If your an early adopter, find me on here. I was lucky enough to lock down my first name as my account name. Company names, fake accounts and those few short names are disappearing fast. Good to be in on the ground floor.
Original, un-edited post: http://venturebeat.com/2011/08/10/heello/