11 Comments

pipeapp
Summary:

In this era of ever more social networks, it is hard to connect with one another. Pipe hopes to fix that. It sifts through your social graph and encourages you to get in touch with one person on your list. The rest is up to you.

A few years back, when I was unwell, I took a vow that I would try and reach out to one person from my past and talk to them on the phone every day. I have done that for nearly four years, though given the size of my rolodex, I am yet to go through the list twice. These don’t include people I currently work or socialize with, or have established relationships in past 12 months. The experience that follows this one-on-one connection is quite rewarding — people are surprised that you remember or that you care to get in touch.

So, yesterday when I came across Pipe, I knew I had to share it with you guys. (Don’t confuse it with the file-sharing app that launched a few weeks ago. My colleague David Meyer wrote about them for GigaOM Europe.) The idea behind the app is basic and simple — it sifts through your social graph and encourages you to get in touch with one person on your list.

The app finds a person, shows some of their basic details, including their social networking identities and offers a plain and simple box to write and send them messages. You can email them, or send them messages via Twitter or LinkedIn. If you don’t want to connect with them today, you can tell the service to remind you later. Or you can simply ignore someone forever and the system will banish them to social networking hell. Pipe is working on Facebook integration, so for now you need a LinkedIn account to use it.

I sadly don’t have a LinkedIn account anymore, so I haven’t used the app. However, when they add Facebook support, I will use the app on a more regular basis. The Pipe app comes at an opportune time. As more and more networks proliferate, we are getting bogged down in frivolous updates but not really connecting with one another.

I must warn you, the app is very raw and the company is tiny and has few resources. At best it is in alpha-stage and currently works on both mobile and regular web browers. If you do end up trying, leave a comment or suggestion here. Also, please don’t judge them for what they don’t have, instead, think about it as a tool to make social networks what they are really meant for — for us being more social.

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  1. Andrew Saada Monday, June 4, 2012

    Thank you for sharing Om.
    I actually reached out to someone I hadn’t spoken to in a few years (old friend from first place I attended college; funny enough via LinkedIn before her looking me up on Facebook…although had I doubled her nickname I would’ve found her on facebook initially!) and this is something that I too have thought about doing in the past but never kept up on it (my rolodex is nowhere near the size of six months worth, so double kudos to you!)

    …I’m registering now so will let you know how it goes (not able to comment on your facebook post so will check back here)

    1. Andrew

      Looking forward to hearing your feedback.

      1. Om

        The sign up was smooth and I skipped the first suggested contact (to be reminded at a future date) and went ahead and sent a message to my uncle figuring it would be a good way to spread news on such a useful tool.

        I guess I’ll see what tomorrow’s inbox brings as I’m curious to know if it will pick up with the next person they had suggested or not.

  2. Justin B Newman Monday, June 4, 2012

    I can’t avoid judging them for what they don’t have: a privacy policy. I should be able to see a privacy policy before I let them have all of my social network contacts. Do they have one after you get logged in? How are they going to use the data? Are they selling it only in aggregate? Or not selling it at all?

    1. We’re big fans of The Locker project (http://lockerproject.org/) and believe very strongly in data privacy. We built Pipe on top of Singly at their hackathon this weekend, and at the moment don’t store any of your data on our own servers at all (which is why you have to relogin each time you visit the site). We didn’t have time to add a privacy policy yet, but will do so soon!

      1. Thanks, Sina. I gave it a try. Works great. We’ll see how long I can keep it up.

    2. Justin

      I hope Sina answered your question.

  3. The app appears to be non-functional at this point. The last post on their blog at http://blog.pipeapp.co/ suggests that they’re working on developing the app but provides no company contact information. I attempted to look them up, unsuccessfully.

    1. Hi Mark – we built Pipe for a hackathon this weekend, and we’ll be working on making improvements this week. The site should work as long as you login with Linkedin, but we’ll get the other authorization methods set up as soon as possible. You’re welcome to contact me (firstname.lastname at gmail) if there’s anything I can help with.

  4. My comments are meant to be by way of encouragement and not critique.

    Pipe is simple and simple can be magical. However, simple plus sharp bolsters the magic. Is there a way, via CSS or something, that the photo and lettering created on a Pipe page can be “sharp”.

    Even when there are just a few elements on a page, they need to be crystal clear. Why? Feng Shui. Everything is energy. Everything has impact on the viewer/user. Blurred images and less than crystal clear lettering creates a barrier, even if subconsciously. (A clear photo will magnetize You, to want to connect with that person.) The GUI is the portal to success.

    1. Augustin Bralley Rafiki Cai Friday, June 8, 2012

      Great feedback, Rafiki, thank you! We’ll be working on the UI extensively as well for our first beta rollout. I hope you’ll have another look and see if we’ve nailed it.

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