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Heello: A Twitter clone or compliment?

August 11, 2011 |  3:08 pm

Noah Everett on Heello

A look at the new social networking site Heello brings to mind the old saying "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

So, is Heello a compliment to Twitter or a blatant rip-off of the popular micro-blogging platform?

A joke or an aspiring challenger?

Development on Heello started about a year ago by Noah Everett and the team at the photo sharing website TwitPic, which when started in 2008 was built as a way to share photos easily on Twitter.

TwitPic has since grown to be a photo sharing site that can be used independent of Twitter as well, but it seems that the launch of Heello is a response to Twitter's launch of its own photo-sharing services that compete with companies like TwitPic.

Now TwitPic, via Heello, is competing with Twitter.

As of now, the two services work pretty much the same.

Messages posted on Heello are limited to 140 characters, just as they are on Twitter.

If you want to write a message directed at another user, add the @ symbol in front of their name and they'll see it in the "replies" section of their timeline.

Unlike Twitter, messages on Heello are called pings, not tweets.

And unlike Twitter, re-posting a message isn't called a re-tweet, but rather an echo.

On Heello, you don't follow another user, you listen to them; you don't unfollow someone, you unlisten them.

Twitter's timeline of tweets only updates with newer messages manually. Heello's timeline of pings updates automatically.

Heello can integrate with a Facebook and Twitter accounts, enabling you to post to those networks from Heello, but not the other way around.

Everett and others at TwitPic and Heello weren't available for comment on Thursday to talk about their new venture and where it's headed. But development on Heello is ongoing and according to the social network's website text-message notifications, video sharing, location check-ins and Heello apps for Apple's iOS and Google's Android are coming soon.

So far, there doesn't seem to be anything Heello can do that Twitter doesn't do too.

With no differentiators between the two services so far, another question comes to mind -- why use Heello instead of, or in addition to, Twitter?

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Heello.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of Box.net's Android app on a tablet running Android Honeycomb. Credit: Box.net

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