Diaspora* gained publicity in May 2010 when it quickly raised money on Kickstarter to build an open-source alternative to Facebook just as Facebook was taking heat for privacy issues. Now, 16 months later, a long overdue email to would-be users confirms the project remains alive and has an expected launch date of late October.
"We’re pushing out hundreds of thousands of invitations as quickly as we can -- thanks for bearing with us," team Diaspora* writes in the email.
LAUNCH has contacted Diaspora* for a comment regarding their potential October launch and why it waited so long to send an update.
Diaspora* wants to create a new and better social web that its users, called Diasporans, own and control.
The software will let users set up and run their own social network or "pod" (server). From there they will be able to connect to the larger Diaspora* network. Users could have private pods, a pod solely for friends or family, or they could join one of Diaspora*'s 20 open pods.
Users will be free to use pseudonyms (unlike Facebook and Google+ policies) and are encouraged to freely express themselves.
Diasporans will also be able to use the service as a "home base" for outbound posts on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Eventually, users will also be able to monitor incoming posts from those sites.
Diaspora*'s founders -- Dan Grippi, Max Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy -- met at New York University's Courant Institute, the home of the school's mathematics and computer science departments.
All four are on Google+ and Twitter but only Grippi and Salzberg note any affiliation with Diaspora* on their Google+ profiles. On Twitter Grippi, Sofaer and Zhitomirskiy note their connection to Diaspora*.
The four began the Diaspora* project early last year in reaction to centralized networks like Facebook that collect data and sell it to other companies. The group wanted to raise $10K on Kickstarter but ultimately received more than $200K from 6K+ backers.
To date more than 160 people have contributed to the Diaspora* code.
Has Diaspora* waited too long to launch? Would you use it? Discuss in the comments.