Video: Ning's Andreessen and Rosenthal Talk About New Social Chat Service Mogwee

Published on February 28, 2011
by Kara Swisher

Yes, it’s actually called Mogwee, which was the codename for the new mobile social communications service being launched tonight by Ning, the high-profile social networking platform co-founded by Silicon Valley icon and investor Marc Andreessen.

Part Twitter, part SMS, part Path and any number of such social start-ups, Mogwee actually stands for “more great weekends,” said CEO Jason Rosenthal, who has been focusing Ning on premium offerings.

BoomTown interviewed Rosenthal and Andreessen–who is also chairman of Ning–at an overpriced tea salon in San Francisco last week about the latest entrant into the crowded socializing of smartphones market.

The Mogwee app was approved today for the Apple iPhone and iPad. The Google Android version is coming in about a week and the one for Research in Motion’s BlackBerry is to come after that.

Also on deck: Integration with big social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Currently, the only way to bring in friends is via your cell phone’s address book.

Once loaded, you can use Mogwee to chat live, share photos, play games, make analog plans and–horrors–throw sheep.

As you can see from the video and screenshots below, a user creates any series of “Hangouts”–such as a whiskey one by Andreessen–for real-time groups or one-to-one chat.

Here is the video interview I did, as well as a look at the service (click on the images to make them larger) and a blog post Rosenthal did about Mogwee:

I’d like you to meet Mogwee.

In January I talked to you about the custom social revolution that is fueling our business as more and more customers come to us to create powerful, custom social websites for their group, band, cause, classroom or business. Since then we launched the Ning Design Studio, major enhancements to the Ning Engagement System, and are in beta with our next killer feature, Paid Access. We have more on the way as Jonathan shared in his recent road map post, and I can’t wait to see Ning help even more customers bring their websites and brands into the social age.

With our road map in place, our business growing and the team humming–I spent some time last fall working with Diego, our CTO and Marc, our Chairman, to think about the next major area for Ning to tackle. We have this awesome team, a deep bench of talent, and 5 years of experience in group and social dynamics. We also knew that with the advances in smart phones mobile was going to be a critical part of the next break through services.

Enter Mogwee–with a very small team (just 2 at first) we began work on a new product–it would be both mobile and social at its core–not an adaptation of an old service for mobile. It would also rethink the modes in which we communicate for the modern age–a native app with chat as the backbone, real time and asynchronous sharing, additional mobile services built in–and it would be fun. A fun, consumer social product, that would be great for anyone to use!

I’ve been asked a few times–how does this relate to Ning? I believe that innovation (not the word, the act) is critical to making Ning a great company, not just building one great product, but a host of amazing new products for the future. Is Apple just the iPod? Google just Search? HP just a printer? We need to be pushing into new businesses that make sense and relate to our “social” DNA. We have an extremely talented engineering team–giving them new challenges and the freedom to invent makes Ning a better company and one that attracts and retains amazing people who want to do amazing things.

After several months of preparing we take Mogwee on its maiden voyage, launching today in Apple’s App Store, and very quickly after for Android and the web, we’re feeling excited, and for the 6 people now working on Mogwee–pretty tired.

Mogwee is a new social communication service that brings together all of the things you love to do with your friends and family on your phone. From chatting live and sharing photos, to planning a night out or playing a game, with a single tap, Mogwee gives you instant access to everything that makes life fun. I can’t wait for you to give Mogwee a try!

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