Stalk Fellow Net Users With First “Wi-Fi Social Network,” Whisher

Posted Jan 31, 2007

You’re sitting at the Starbuck’s Coffee shop at 120 4th St. in San Francisco using your T-Mobile HotSpot wireless account while sipping on a Caramel Frappucino and typing away on your laptop to find out what time Stomp the Yard is playing at AMC Theaters.  All of a sudden an IM comes on your screen from LonelyStarbucksGirl15 that says, “Guess what?  I’m sitting right behind you.  And I just added you to my Whisher buddy list.”  Startled, you say “WTF?,” shut down Windows, and walk away.  At least, thats how I would probably respond.

The funny thing is that this actual situation could happen to you, the idea exists, and has been funded.  Here is a screen shot of the registration form to get your Whisher chat client up-and-running:

As I was going through the necessary registration steps to set-up the IM client, it asks for quite a bit of personal information such as what street you live on, what your mobile and home phone number is, and what your Skype name is.  After ignoring those option forms, I confirmed my profile information. 

To get started, you enter your name and a welcome message to send other Whisher users on your Wi-Fi.  Then you input your location (country, city, zip).  And BOOM-You’re online:

This IM client was previewed at the DEMO conference and made its way over from Barcelona, Spain.  Yesterday, the company announced that they had received funding from Benchmark Capital Europe and from Swisscom.  You can also share files and according to the press release, “direct access to local services and the ability to set up their own micro community networks.”

“WHISHER has a huge advantage in being an Internet business — their Skype-like model gives them tremendous agility over other solutions,” states Klaus Hommels, a partner at Benchmark Capital Europe. “We believe their nimble approach will lower the barrier to entry for people who can benefit from quick wireless access, with the added incentive of building new wireless communities using IM and file sharing.”

“Nimble” it is indeed.  Perhaps we’ll see some emoticons built in to Whisher so I can send over the classic AIM icon    once a stranger IMs me at a coffee shop.

The technology is pretty sweet, but the concept reminds me of the movie, Enemy of the State.