I’ve been using a new web application called Ping.fm for the last couple weeks. It’s a really simple service that helps you post to multiple social networking sites at the same time. Instead of updating Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, Tumblr, etc. separately, you can do it all at once with Ping.fm.
The best part about Ping.fm is that they expose a number of different interfaces for updating. That means you don’t need to have a browser window open in order to post! In addition to the website, there’s a mobile web app, an iPhone web app, a Facebook application, an iGoogle gadget, an API for developers, and IM support for AOL, Yahoo, and Google Talk. I find that I use the Google Talk and iPhone interfaces most often.
When you setup your services, you can assign them to three categories: Statuses, Micro-Blogs, and Blogs (for example, I have Twitter in Statuses and Micro-Blogs). Then when you post a message to Ping.fm, you choose which of these categories to update. Additionally, you can setup “custom triggers”. For example, I have #t setup. If I post something that starts with #t it will update Twitter, Tumblr, and Identi.ca. Finally, you can update specific services with “service triggers”, like @fb for Facebook.
The current list of supported services is: Bebo, Blogger, Brightkite, Custom URL, Facebook, FriendFeed, hi5, Identi.ca, Jaiku, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Mashable, MySpace, Plaxo Pulse, Plurk, Pownce, Tumblr, Twitter, and Xanga. Three of these (Custom URL, FriendFeed, and Identi.ca) have been added in just the last ten days or so. The Ping.fm team is obviously very actively adding functionality based on user feedback.
Another thing I like about Ping.fm is the API. I recently requested an application key, and while I haven’t really played with it yet, I intend to replace some existing update code I have with calls to Ping.fm. I suspect there will be quite a few third party tools and services that make use of Ping.fm’s API. Having an API is key for a service like this.
I’m really happy with Ping.fm, but it’s not perfect. Here are a few wishes and things I’d like to see improved:
- None of the checkboxes work in Opera. I’ve never seen this before on any other website, and it’s really annoying.
- I’d like to be able to set a “prefix” for Facebook. By default, my updates are just mashed together, as in “Mack Tempted to take a nap :)” but I’d like to specify a prefix of ” – ” to get “Mack – Tempted to take a nap :)”. Same goes for LinkedIn.
- I really wish Ping.fm had an SMS gateway. Then I could update via text message. I wrote my own code with Twitter’s API to accomplish this for now.
- Would be cool to have a setting to turn off URL shortening by default.
- I’d love to see OpenID support too.
- Support for IM statuses as services would be wicked – Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, and Skype would be at the top of my list.
I’ve seen a few people write about Ping.fm, wishing that it had a way to aggregate your friends messages at all of the supported services. I hope they don’t go down that route – that’s what I use FriendFeed for. I’d rather Ping.fm stay focused on posting, not reading.