Mosoto, a social music sharing startup, plans to release ‘Mosoto Remix’ — a much awaited application for Facebook on Monday. They volunteered to give Rev2 an exclusive sneak preview at their upcoming application, and over the weekend, I was able to speak with the two founders of Mosoto, Seth Lesky and Girard Kelly, regarding the release.
Similar to YourMinis and eyeOS, Mosoto plans to utilize a web desktop to organize their service. I’ve been following Mosoto since the announcement of their product at the beginning of 2007. A lot, however, has changed since then. The current page at Mosoto.com features their Music application (resembling an online iTunes), and an instant messaging application (being Meebo for Facebook users)
The Monday Launch
Mosoto has pinned Monday as the official launch for their new Facebook Application. Thus far, only a minimal amount of features are included at the Mosoto.com domain are available. According to Girard & Seth, tomorrow will bring Mosoto Remix to Facebook. Remix will be an application for Facebook users to utilize inside of the Facebook interface itself. Mosoto Remix will allow users to link to their Mosoto application and settings from within their profile, utilizing the “widget in profile” approach that the majority of Facebook applications use now. In addition, there will be an interface to Mosoto for users to use from inside Facebook itself.
The main focus of Monday’s launch, at least from Mosoto’s point of view, is Mosoto Remix. The social music player, makes it easy for users to upload, share music and listen to it wherever they are.
The player also introduces some new social features to Facebook users. The Canvas application [launching tomorrow] will include a “what’s happening feed,” similar to the Mini-Feed and the News Feed that Facebook provides. The feed will update users on their friends’ activities, including such notes as “Girard has just listened to Bloc Party” or “Seth has subscribed to Girard’s music playlist.” The subscriptions aspect of Mosoto provides a new social aspect as well. Similar to Last.fm, Mosoto users can subscribe to their friends’ music. The founders of Mosoto describe the feature as “similar to subscribing to someone’s podcast,” in that you get updates when new music is added, etc. I inquired about privacy concerns, and Mosoto told me that they weren’t really going to be active on that front, adopting the same approach as Box.net, the service they’re using to host files. Mosoto sees the music sharing facet of their application as similar to iTunes’ music sharing feature. Whereas iTunes lets you stream music to a local network [although applications exist to allow you to stream it over the internet], Mosoto allows you to stream music to your “social network.” It remains to be seen if and how the RIAA will deal with this sort of issue.
The Web Desktop
In describing Mosoto, both Seth and Girard used some existing web services to describe what Mosoto does. The instant messaging platform is similar to Meebo. Their videocasting and webcam platform is similar to Stickam. So what does Mosoto provide that’s different? Seth and Girard hope that Mosoto will soon become “the de facto number one…real-time communication application for Facebook. ” Mosoto’s strength comes in its aggregation of its users’ web activities. Unlike the aforementioned web desktops YourMinis and eyeOS, Mosoto is tied to your real life identity and your social graph via Facebook.
“A Layer” on Top of Facebook
Eventually, its founders hope that Mosoto’s users will be able to hack together their own applications in 24 hours. “We want to be a layer in an architecture where Facebook is the lowest level in that architecture,” noted Mosoto’s founders. At some point in the future, they see developers creating applications for Mosoto itself, harnessing the Facebook platform for real-time collaborative social applications. Seth and Girard hope that Mosoto will provide another level of usability and openness for both developers and users.
Nowadays, web services are a dime a dozen. We’ve all heard about the successes, and in most cases, these services find a way to monetize themselves before they drown in debt. Mosoto, still at its early stages, plans to use several methods to make their application profitable. To begin, they’re ensuring that their application is strictly for Facebook. Only a long time down the line would they consider dealing with another social network. A key feature of the integration with Facebook is the information it gives Mosoto. With the details gleaned from users’ usage of both Facebook and Mosoto, Mosoto’s founders hope that they’ll be able to provide “highly contextual, relevant, Adsense-type advertising that harnesses your social connections, profile information, and location.” Besides advertising, the two partners foresee Mosoto Pro accounts that grant users special privileges and an ad-free interface.
Mosoto hasn’t even launched yet, but that doesn’t mean their founders don’t have a vision. Seth and Girard seem to be two extremely motivated individuals, and they’ve got a lot planned for Mosoto down the line. The end goal of Mosoto, will be a “platform for third party applications that can harness a layer of real time collaboration and communication that includes your social connections.” Mosoto seems to have the architecture in place; their Mosoto.com page feels almost like a desktop. In the future, Mosoto’s windows will be able to pop out, helping users treat Mosoto as a desktop application [similar to Adobe Apollo]. They also hope that Mosoto will be able to keep a users’ many profiles in sync, mainly the information from Mosoto and the information from Facebook.
While the user experience will be a bit disjointed at first, with users forced to switch back between Mosoto.com and the Canvas application in Facebook itself, Seth and Girard promised that a solution was in the works. In the short term, however, Mosoto’s dedicated to scaling and tweaking the first iteration of their application. Once they have “built enough viralness into it,” Mosoto plans to move to the next iteration of their web app. Their estimated time frame for Mosoto v.2 is three weeks to a month after the launch of Mosoto itself. This puts the launch date at sometime in mid-July for new features like an integrated video player and inline slideshow viewing.
Mosoto will then be utilizing the Facebook Platform with much deeper integration into Facebook than we’ve seen with most applications thus far. The service plans to turn a user’s Facebook identity into a “web services aggregator,” utilizing the APIs of dozens of other internet services. The short list includes storage provided by the Mosoto founders includes Box.net, video by Veoh, YouTube, and Odeo. What Mosoto’s trying to do is unify a user’s Facebook experience with their exterior web experience.
Mosoto has their work cut out for them. The next few weeks will be some of the most trying and most important for Seth Lesky and Girard Kelly, the founders of Mosoto. Their web app is both revolutionary and practical, and every Facebook user should find it useful. Unfortunately, there are several impediments to user adoption. Mainly, claimed the two founders, they “really have to clarify to [our] users what [we] are. It’s hard to bring so many things together.” In the coming weeks, we’ll see if Mosoto really does bring a whole new dimension to the Facebook experience. For the sake of Facebook users everywhere, we hope they are successful.