Last week was an exciting week for Accounts. We officially launched on Thursday, November 6th!
Our beta period was lengthy. Over 6 months. Although I first posted about Accounts back in May, we'd been working on the platform for quite some time even before that. So, this launch was a big one for us.
For those that are unfamiliar, Accounts is a contacts network that serves as your own “futureproof communication layer” for relationship retention. It's designed to be a cross-platform system that works with any device, operating system, or app/service. At the surface, it's a sort-of “social, auto-updating address book” at first glance. — The idea is that you can add your contacts once, and then have pointers to whatever services those contacts use to communicate with others (and you!) in the future. By connecting within the simple context of, “What's your username or handle on ‘Service XYZ’?” or “What app or email is the best way to contact you?”… this information can change anytime but you'll still be in touch with that person via Accounts. Furthermore, you'll automatically receive notifications when people change their information or join a new app or service.
There are other perks to the system as well, such as our future API for contact portability between apps, and the ability to limit which of your contact information can be seen by your contacts based on the group that you place them into. (ie. Family, Friends, Work, etc.)
Rather than retain various overlapping social media accounts (with out-of-sync contacts lists) for sole the purpose of staying in touch, or fuss with updating your contact information manually amongst your contacts, wouldn't you rather just let that information be updated automatically and control who sees it? Wouldn't you like a contacts system that supported all of your apps? Wouldn't it be great to receive notifications when someone that you know joins a cool new messaging app, or to automatically notify your contacts of the same? — Bring your contacts list to Accounts, a place where it won't lose relevance as your needs and interests change. Free yourself from the privacy constraints and concerns of content sharing for the sake of remaining active on various social networks. Be connected through any service now or in the future, and always have everyone's latest contact information.
I see the future of apps and social media being people maintaining smaller contacts lists within their favorite apps. There are so many apps nowadays that the fragmentation is out of control. Maintaining a primary list of contacts in a contentless, platform neutral environment makes sense. Accounts is an exciting initiative.
Now that our first non-beta version has been released to the public, we're working even harder on what's next. Stay tuned, and please check out the app if you haven't already! It's the simplest way to stay connected, longterm.