As good as existing web messaging platforms are, they don’t allow you to selectively communicate. Imagine, for instance, that your telephone conversations were accessible to everyone in your 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 our 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 you define your audience so that you can communicate on the web as effortlessly as you 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 our eco-system. This has traditionally been done by aggregation. Existing 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: log into Pip.io with your Netflix account and you’ll see 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 our 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 you 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 our 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.
Our 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. Pip.io aims to be the new standard in web communication.