Readers would be forgiven for not remembering the Odigo IDproject. This was an instant messaging service based in Israel, founded in 1998 by Avner Ronen. It was purchased by Comverse Technology in 2002, and then shut down in 2004. However, like a handful of startups that came after it, it allowed you to interact with your instant messenger friends who were surfing the same web page at the same time. IМ services stayed put but social networks have since come to the fore. But now, in the era of social networking, the idea has come to light again.
Now Moscow-based company Keenko has created a web-service of this type in the form of a plug-in for the Firefox browser. The service is integrated with Facebook and Twitter and enables users to see who is looking at the same webpage and view the social network profiles of these users. Clearly that can lead to people friending eachother on these existing social nets. At this point we should declare that occasional TechCrunch Europe blogger Denis Dovgopoliy is a consultant on the project.
However, a unique feature of keenko lets you see which of your followers are online and send each other messages on any web page.
The company is in Beta testing now and is planning to expand the number of social networks Keenko can plug into, and support other browsers like IE and Chrome.
Of course, where it all falls down is that everyone has to have this plug-in installed, a fact which stopped similar startups taking off in previous years. It may however be the case that finding people on existing social networks which already have lots of take-up, like Facebook and Twitter, will be more appealing to users.