Zipiko - meeting friends made easy Monday, November 10, 2008
Zipiko is a new approach to arranging meet-ups with friends that I can imagine catching on, which is showcasing at Le Web.
In concept it is very similar to Upcoming.org or even Meetup in that it is orientated around the notion of publishing events which your friends can see. The service is free [no ads spotted either] and is entirely web-hosted.
Members set up an event, detailing time and place plus comments. Thereafter friends can either be specifically invited or the event made public amongst your friends who can choose to participate in the open invite. Hence you can see events that your friends are organising and elect to opt in e.g. join your friends to watch the rugby in the pub.
I found that setting up an event was very easy and intutitive, via the simple online interface. Likewise, inviting friends was very easy. Interestingly the service currently send free SMS messages or emails to invite people, as well as notifying you of their responses.
To add friends to your account, you have the option of importing your phone contacts as well as importing contact from Gmail. Any friends you do add have to positively accept your invite to connect. I confess that didn't find either appealing since my address books co-mingle friends and business contacts. I think they should definitely be looking to add the capability to import contacts from services like Facebook, Twitter etc and you can buy code to do this off the shelf these days for less than $100.
The site claims it has been configured to be easy to use via mobile phone and a brief check on my own Blackberry phone browser did confirm this.
Connecting your events to your calendar is possible albeit only 30 Boxes appeared to be supported when I tried.
Whilst I understand that the team behind this are keen that you regularly use their site, I think the service would benefit from creating an ical feed of events from your "crowd" that could be accessible by calendar applications, with entries that link back to the Zipiko site. I say this because Gmail and Google calendar are two webapps I use constantly whereas I am initially less likely to have Zipiko open constantly. Likewise, it would be great if you could "send an calendar invite" to your own Zipiko account from say Google calendar to be added to the events list.
Worth trying when organising your next social meetup.
- At 10:17 AM, Stefano J. Attardi said...
Hi John! I'm Stefano, CTO and interaction designer of Zipiko. Thanks for trying out Zipiko, and for the useful comments.
When you import contacts from your phone or Gmail you can choose which ones you want. You don't have to import them all! We will clarify this on the site. We are of course working on letting you reach your Facebook contacts.
You should be able to connect to any calendar application which supports webcal feeds. Unfortunately, this does not currently work well with Google Calendar as it does not refresh the feed and will therefore not receive updates. We will work around this in the future by adding support for the Google Calendar API.
We will also let you import feeds from other applications (such as Google Calendar) into Zipiko.
In short, there are lots of useful improvements on our roadmap. Stay tuned!