When Lissn launched at TechCrunch50 this past year, it had what seemed to be a hot basic premise: Twitter meets Google Wave. Unfortunately, as time has proven, Google Wave has yet to catch on in a meaningful way, as it’s too noisy for most people. And in many ways, the first version of Lissn seemed a bit too noisy. With the latest version launching today, the team has simplified things a lot.
Whereas the first version was based around specific conversations, Lissn 2.0 is entirely based around individuals. It doesn’t matter what they’re talking about, only who they are, and that you might be interested in having a conversation with them, or listening in on the one they’re having. In fact, the only pages that exist on the site now beyond the list of all users online and the list of your favorite users (“memory,” as it’s called), are individual user pages. From there, you have only three options: listen in (by watching), “say something,” or “ask a question.”
Doing either of the latter two will place your text in a stream above the user’s avatar. From there, depending on how many people are in the room, it’s basically a massive IM conversation. Or, if you feel like starting your own conversation, you simply go to your page and say something in the text box along the bottom of the page.
To me, there’s something compelling about Lissn because it’s now very, very simple — sort of like Twitter, back in its early stages. You really can only do a few things, again, like Twitter. However, I can’t help but wonder if Lissn is now too simple. Having conversations is nice, but what’s the benefit to having them on Lissn versus over IM with multiple people? Maybe something like great search functionality would entice me, but there is no search right now. But the team says it plans to iterate with this new version on a weekly basis, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s coming.
Whereas rival LiveFyre is based around specific topics to have conversations about, Lissn offers no context for conversations, so it will likely be hard to jump into one. That said, if the service positions it sort of like a Formspring.me-type Q&A with a certain user, it could be kind of interesting.