Back in May, during the height of the Facebook privacy scare, a group of four friends who are computer students made a big splash in the social networking world by asking for some funding to work on a decentralized social network they planned to call Diaspora. After a profile was run about them in The New York Times, their original goal for $10,000 in funding turned into them getting over $200,000 in donations from over 6,000 people. All that was left was for the four guys to buckle down and actually deliver on what they promised.
The plan all along had been to work on the project over the summer months while they were out of school on break, and deliver the product in Sept. Even though the product will turn open source at that point, the first people to receive it will be the sponsors, and from there it will go out to the Internet at large. So with a month of production time gone, does the group have anything to show those people who put their money behind this group of upstarts with the impeccable timing?
Well, luckily the guys thought to update everyone at this juncture, and it while it isn’t exactly anything groundbreaking visually, there is definitely some work going on. As you can see in the video above, the speed is impressive, and considering those six “seeds” (installs”) of Diaspora are running on different servers, the speed is definitely something to be impressed by. How this will work in a real world environment remains to be seen, but good to see some actual work is being accomplished.
Below is an up close screenshot of how the page currently looks (you can click for a larger view), and it looks pretty basic for now.
The big question with this service will remain being explaining it in terms your average user understands. One of the big “selling” points of Facebook is that it is dead simple to join. If users have to do what they perceive as too much work to get this set up, it will become a niche social network at best. Only time will tell how widely this will end being accepted by the social media junkies in our midst.
What say you? Are you excited for Diaspora?