I started thinking about a new, simpler social-network during a plane ride last year.
Nowadays, the “lock-in” of existing popular social networks really limits our mobility when trying new apps and services. Our phonebooks are more or less our only actual portable “friends list(s)”, and the simple contacts list that they offer generally leaves much to be desired. — You're responsible for maintaining (and retaining) your own in its entirety, and so many of them are not maintained at all and in complete disarray.
Accounts, on the other hand, is an app that detects apps installed on your device and presents you with a list of three things: your services, your contacts, and your contacts' services. …That's it. (Oh, and their basic contact information such as email and telephone.) — It's curently available for iOS only, but a mobile and desktop web version are planned, as well as a native Android app later on, as well.
I want to keep this basic information up-to-date amongst the people I know, for myself and for them, so the idea is to provide that simple platform to serve as a longterm reference. It's time for something like this to exist on all platforms, and remain simple… forever.
“Won't I be locked into this, as well,” you may ask? — The answer is “no,” because there's nothing on it. It's just your contacts, and the services that they use. There's no content. If you want to leave, there's nothing to leave behind, because your content isn't there.
We'll even make it easy to leave by syncing your contacts through APIs.
If this service takes off, it's a great way to stay connected longterm with no other strings attached. There's no feature set to judge or become bored with, there's no content to manage or worry about receiving “likes” on, there are no complex privacy settings (aside from putting people into groups and adjusting what those groups can see, but that's it), etc. — We're not cramming features down your throat trying to be an “operating system for the web” or something. This is a basic, permanent contact for you and the people you know and have met.
Accounts will keep your contacts' information up-to-date for you, and provide a historical archive, as well, to serve as a longterm reference to those who you have or were connected to, and how you were connected to them at the time. — We're planning to offer an API for you to utilize this information selectively within other apps at your own discretion, as well.
This could make today's social network “lock-in” a thing of the past by managing your relationships and providing true relationship portability between apps and services. With your interest, I'm building a company around this idea.
Check out the beta, and stay tuned for updates.