Yes. Yet another social networking site... I decided to play with this one for awhile before blogging it to make sure it was significantly different. I think it is. Plazes takes your IP address and tries to figure out where you are asks for the address of where you are and maps it to the MAC address of the router you are connected to. If you are in a new "plaze" you can register it by entering the address, uploading pictures, making comments. You can see who is online and where they are. You can see people by how far away they are from you. I imagine that once it gets going, most common hang outs will have lots of comments and pictures and you will be able to find people in your vicinity to hook up with. It's a bit like a laptop version of dodgeball. I'm "Joi" on Plazes.

And in other YASNS news, I finally got my wallop (Microsoft Research's SNS) invitation. I'm "Joi" there as well.

11 Comments

plazes doesn't use the ip address (we'd need ipv6 for that :)), it uses the MAC addresses of the router you're connected to as far as i know. personally i see it as place-with-internet-connection annotation service with social networking capabilities.

oh yeah, and the menubar tool for os x from the codingmonkeys rocks.

Right, it´s using the router´s MAC ID. is it social networking software? I´m not sure.

We like to consider Plazes next generation social software. Obviously, any kind of interaction system involving people is social software. In the past the term has been coined towards 'six-degrees-of-separation' software like friendster or orkut. Plazes takes it nest generation regarding location-awareness and impliciteness. The Plazes you are frequenting are actually a much better filtering system and common denominator than explicit connections like "he is my friend". By being virtually present at certain Plazes like a record label or a certain restaurant and having conversations via comments at that Plaze, the system is much closer to how we actually interact in the real world. By being able to annotate real world locations virtually, Plazes augments, enhances and encourages real-world communication rather than simulating it.

Nevertheless, Plazes does allows you to declare other users as friends. This simply means that you trust the person in regard of your personal information. Plazes allows you to specify for every fragment of your profile information wether it's visible only to your friends or to everybody. Unlike with friendster and the likes, you cannot see who your friend's friends are.

Michael Zeitner wrote@1:
plazes doesn't use the ip address (we'd need ipv6 for that :)), it uses the MAC addresses of the router you're connected to as far as i know.

Impossible. There is no way to determine, based e.g. on its Ethernet MAC address, where a router that you do not operate has been deployed on this planet. A router bought in Silicon Valley might well be ultimately deployed in India, for example.
The only information that can be gathered from an IP connection that might have some vague and unreliable relation to your actual location is the IP address seen by the server — e.g. the one masqueraded by your NAT gateway.
As an example, the joi.ito.com site has an IP address that seems to be associated with the Dallas area in Texas. Joi will probably tell us whether that vague hunch is correct, or off by a few thousand miles ;-)



@MostlyVowels: the plazes launcher checks the routers MAC address and sends it to plazes.com where it is stored in the database.

The local information and all the rest is added by the discoverer or whoever is at this very plaze.

If someone logs into plazes.com and sends a known MAC address, plazes.com knows where you are.

It's a simple database lookup.

tim wrote @4:
the plazes launcher checks the routers MAC address and sends it to plazes.com where it is stored in the database.

There is no way for a ISDN/analog dialup user connected by PPP or SLIP to a terminal server to discover the TS's Ethernet MAC, assuming the TS has one active at all — the TS could be linked to a backbone router via a MAC-less T1 point-to-point backhaul link, for example.

My curiosity has been piqued, and I've checked out the Plazes website. From their information pages: “[..] You need to be online to use Plazes. The system uses a fingerprint of the network you are logged onto as a unique identifier for a specific Plaze.”

This sounds quite clever, and I suspect that "signature" is based on some hashing of the last hops of a plazes-to-client traceroute information, possibly combined with the router's MAC when it is known.

@MostlyVowels: You are right. That is why plazes.com does not work with dial-up, isdn or a vpn-connection.

From the FAQ:
Can I use Plazes with a dial-up connection?
Right now: no. We're working on it.

Just log into plazes and try it...

just for the record if someone is too lazy to read the comments properly: it is using the MAC address, and you're *manually* setting the position, i suppose trying to guess where you are based on the ip is a bad idea ;)

@MostlyVowels: You are right. That is why plazes.com does not work with dial-up, isdn or a vpn-connection.

Apologies. It didn't occur to me that a Social Networking Service would decide not to support dialup users — mobile users connected e.g. from hotel rooms ? — and didn't bother to check their fineprint :-)

In fact it does work for every internet connection. But only lan connections (lan, wifi etc.) can be annotated. A user with dialup or isdn can connect and participate but will be shown as 'plazeless'.

I'll trade you an Orkut invite for one of your Wallop invites.
rlknight2004@yahoo.com
Thanks
-Luke

could you send a wallop invitation to me ?
thanks a lot
my email: liu.flying@gmail.com

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TrackBack URL for this entry: http://joi.ito.com/MT-4.35-en/mt-tb.cgi/2830

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I saw that a number of folks (including Joi) recently gawked at Plazes, a new social networking/proximity/mobility offering. Joi Ito[from Plazes and Wallop] Yes. Yet another social networking site... I decided to play with this one for awhile before bl... Read More

I saw that a number of folks (including Joi) recently gawked at Plazes, a new social networking/proximity/mobility offering. Joi Ito[from Plazes and Wallop] Yes. Yet another social networking site... I decided to play with this one for awhile before bl... Read More

I'm not a big fun of joining "YASN"s just for the sake of it, but my discovery of "Plazes" has a little story behind it. Read More

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