There hasn’t been much chatter about Dodgeball.com lately. Last Spring, it was all the rage when Google “acquired it.” Engadget reported:
Well, what started as a service for interactive mobile social networks grew up a lot today; that's right, Dodgeball, the little project that could borne of NYU's ITP program got bought by Google today for an undisclosed sum of money (we'll just assume they'll be able to pay off those student loans). For those of you who don't remember Dodgeball, they were started as a service wherein a registered phone can "check-in", and anyone in your registered circle of friends (or their friends as well) in the area will be notified of your proximity (and vice versa), so you can, you know, do lunch or whatever people do. It pretty much goes without saying that this is just begging for use with Google maps mobile and Google local (why do they keep building technology to make it easier to get out of the office and have a social life, anyway?), not to mention the obligatory Orkut integration we're likely to see. Now quick Dodgeball guys, cash out now and live like kings in the Balkans forever!
Alex Rainert and Dennis Crowley transferred the rights to their start-up service to Google, but it is unlikely the two former grad students are living “like Kings.” As part of Dodgeball’s absorption by Google, the Dodgeball “team” became part of Google’s engineering team.
At the time of the move to Google, Crowley reflected:
As a two-person team, Alex and I have taken dodgeball about a far as we can alone. Since we finished grad school, we've been trying to figure out how to grow dodgeball and make it a better service along the way. We talked to a lot of different angel investors and venture capitalists, but no one really "got" what we were doing - that is until we met Google.
The people at Google think like us. They looked at us in a “You’re two guys doing some pretty cool stuff, why not let us help you out and let’s see what you can do with it” type of way. We liked that. Plus, Alex and I are both Google superfans and the people we’ve met so far are smart, cool and excited about what they’re working on.
Now that we’re part of Google, we’ll have more resources available to us. That means Alex and I can get back to building new features. We have a lot of ideas that we’ve wanted to work on for a long time and we’re excited that we will now have the time and resources to actually follow-through with them. There’s some cool stuff in the works - stay tuned.
Today, Google lists Dodgeball as one of its services and describes it as “a networking service that helps coordinate location-based social interactions between mobile users.” In its description, Google links directly to dodgeball.com, rather than to any Google domain service.
A post last month at O’Reilly Radar expressed enthusiasm that “Dodgeball Gets a Short Code.” Commenters, however, did not seem to share the enthusiasm and discuss how the service has been seemingly left to languish:
simon: I'm sorry but Dodgeball is really missing the train. Getting a shortcode now? They've should have got one long time ago and focused on product development. I haven't seen any of that in the last 12 months. What have they been up to?”
Pete Jelliffe: Finally! It's too bad most of my friends already think of Dodgeball as more annoying than helpful.
Yip: Yeah, about dodgeball and dev, it's very cumbersome to use, too little too late. As someone already mentioned, there's already better services out there. In Seattle at least there's www.where2match.com which does so much more.
Brian Aker: I had wondered if anyone outside of New York was using it. I've seen friends in Seattle sign up for it, but no one actually use it.