Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the previously covered Tangler, Pibb is a great way to aggregate some of the noise you have going on in your online life. It’s early days yet for the folks at Pibb, and so far they have some interesting stuff going on. Let’s take a look.
You access Pibb using an OpenID. JanRain are also a major provider of OpenID with their myopenid.com portal. Sign-in is simple. You just enter your OpenID from any provider, authenticate, and you’re done. The first screen you encounter is the Dashboard. This is your hub for everything Pibb – access to your profile, a Channel Directory and Search are available, but it’s the tabs you’ll see that are the most important.
On the left of the Dashboard is the list of Channels you’re subscribed to. On the right are your Contacts – the individuals you’re having conversations with.
Channels are like particular forums on more old-school tools. They are a wrapper to all kinds of conversations within that subject. There are currently 854 individual public channels on Pibb.
Not all Channels are active, but there’s sure to be something of interest to find. Supporters of Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul have a channel (the most active on Pibb!) they’re using to co-ordinate some of their activity, social bookmarking site Magnolia is using a channel to provide real-time support and with Pibb parent JanRain being an active supporter and developer of OpenID, there’s a very active channel for that, too. You can join and participate in any open public channel. However, if you or the group you’re associated with want private communication, you can leverage the tools Pibb offers to create your own secure, private channel and use that in favor of other available alternatives such as IM.
You can use Contacts as a way to do web-based IM to your colleagues and friends on Pibb. Messaging a Contact opens a two-way, closed Channel for you to talk in.
JanRain are doing a lot of work to make Pibb accessible and useful for the community. Public Pibb channels have RSS feeds you can subscribe to so you don’t need to live in the application. They have released a WordPress plugin for easy embedding in your blog and, in the corner of any Channel thread is embeddable XHTML for any website. Very handy. There’s also a Pibb-IRC relay bridge built into the application, so channels can be associated with a related IRC channel and the IRC chatter gets automatically fed to the Pibb Channel. Very sweet indeed.
Particularly exciting is the connection that Pibb has made with the BarCamp community. Pibb has been used now as the communication backchannel for several BarCamps, including BarCampBlock in San Francisco and BarCamp Portland. According to JanRain Product Development manager, Kevin Fox, the company would like to see Pibb picked up by conferences and gatherings of all sorts as a communications technology for their events.
I think Pibb shows a lot of promise, and they’re likely to get good uptake through their affiliation with the BarCamp and OpenID movements. Jump on over and take a look.