Vipera aims mobile SocNet at developing world

Vipera is a new mobile social network with a twist – it’s aimed at people in developing countries. That makes a great deal of makes sense. We are talking about places where to say “Facebook” would make people think of a book with faces in it, not a social network. But ask them about a mobile phone, and they will show you a charging point.

Vipera, in beta, employs a combination of micro­blogging/publishing and instant messaging on the handset. Users to go and download the java client. Users can browse Vipera content; create public or private blogs; publish pictures, text, audio (and soon video) to blogs and chat with people and subscribe to their blogs. You can create “places” and collect friends. Think Twitter/Flickr/MySpace on a mobile. Vipera sends data via GPRS/EDGE/CDMA/UMTS/WiFi data connection. The company claims the java app works on 500+ wide handset models and so far it has 200,000 users in 120 countries.
Founded in 2005, Vipera is a privately held company with offices in Zurich, Switzerland, in Milan, Italy and an offshore technical development centre in Bangalore, India.

I think it’s really cool that these social nets, especially mobile ones, are spreading to developing countries. The impact on people who have never connected in this way before is considerable, take this comment:

jbjolicoeur from Mauritius
The one who invented this software will be blessed forever. There’s something awesome about it. We feel free to express ourselves, people are open and ready to consider our views, etc. Vipera is an instrument of change for the world. After using Vipera you are no longer the same person.

And if that sounds OTT, you can believe it when it means someone has managed to type out something like this tale of human rights abuse on a mobile.

I’d love to think these guys could one day get their hands on an iPhone and a Flickr account but until then apps like Vipera are going to be their link to this brave new world.