For those of you trying to keep up with all the new mobile social-networking services that are springing up (like MocoSpace, Mig33, Aka-Aki, MeetMoi, Mobiluck, Imity, Zyb, etc., etc.), here’s one more to add to the pile: Zannel. Launched quietly in August, it already has more than 500,000 mobile visitors a month, says founder and CTO Braxton Woodham. Formerly the CTO of Infospace Mobile, he brought his core team over to Zannel, which raised $6 million in a series-A round from US Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures last May.
Zannel is like a multimedia Twitter. You can microblog and send out short group messages from your mobile phone to your other friends on Zannel. And, as with Twitter, anyone who wants to keep up with your doings can elect to be notified every time you post a new update. But it is really designed for people who want to communicate through pictures and videos, which you can upload from your phone and send out with a short message. “What we are trying to focus on is pulling media into messaging,” says Woodham. If you send a video or picture to someone whose phone cannot handle it, they get a link instead that they can use to download the file later when they are on a computer.
Each picture or video can generate a little microblog hanging off it, complete with comments from your friends or admirers. You can choose to make your profile and conversations either private or public. All your posts also live on Zannel’s regular Website. But Zannel is not so much trying to create its own separate social network as it is trying to tap into your existing ones. For instance, it lets you import your Gmail or Hotmail contacts right from the WAP browser on your phone. And you can put a Zannel widget on your blog or MySpace page that constantly refreshes every time you add something new. (A Facebook widget is coming soon).
As with most social networking services, people right now seem to be using Zannel for hooking up and even porn. That’s what you get when you encourage people to upload pictures. Those are not the only things they are doing with Zannel, however. You can also find people sharing their travel videos, or asking other Zannel users what kind of shoes they should buy.