Has Particls disintegrated?

Has Particls disintegrated?

Summary: Brisbane-born start-up Particls promised a better way of organising information from the web. Now, however, it appears to have given up the battle, with both the Particls website and that of its parent company Faraday Media disappearing from the web.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Brisbane-born start-up Particls promised a better way of organising information from the web. Now, however, it appears to have given up the battle, with both the Particls website and that of its parent company Faraday Media disappearing from the web.

Particls was one of the bright stars of the early days of Australia's Web 2.0 movement ... [but] there is only so long you can last on a good idea alone

The company was started in January 2006 by Chris Saad and Ashley Angell to develop an RSS feed organiser. It launched a personalised news and alerts service back in May 2007 to positive reviews, and earlier this year released an application called Particls Fountain that allowed users to follow topics on Twitter by keyword.

Both services were free to use — which may have something to do with the company's current status. The Particls Twitter identity is still active, but the link through to its blog site is broken.

Saad moved to San Francisco earlier and joined the American company JS Kit, which is developing an online commenting system called Echo. Saad is also a co-founder of the DataPortability project and co-authored the Attention Profiling Mark-Up Language for presenting a machine-readable presentations of a users' interests. He is currently working as JS Kit's vice president of product strategy and community.

The other co-founder, Ashley Angell, is believed to be working for one of Particls' investors, Brisbane-based entrepreneur Stephen Kelly, on his company Peepel. That company has developed an online office application featuring mapping, word processing, file management and other applications (more information here). Efforts to contact Angell and Kelly were not responded to.

According to DataPortability's other co-founder, San Francisco-based Australian Elias Bizannes, that project is going from strength to strength.

"We are basically creating a Creative Commons for your data — so imagine viewing a website and never having to read a terms-of-service or end user licence agreement again because you know what you can do with your data," Bizannes says. "Mozilla suggested to us we make it like a browser thing that lights up with the status of the site and I've got some connections in the Valley who are interested to adopt it once we are ready."

"There's a lot of work to do as it's a complex problem, but it's going to be interesting to see where this takes us."

Particls was one of the bright stars of the early days of Australia's Web 2.0 movement, promoting a vision of making it easier to manage the growing volumes of information that are out on the web.

But like any other company that fails to find a sustainable business model, there is only so long you can last on a good idea alone.

Topic: Browser

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8 comments
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  • Particls reintegrated!

    Brad,

    Contrary to your report above, the continued development of Particls is alive and well. I would also like to correct the notion contained in your article that I declined to respond to your approaches for comment, we – you and I – had several email exchanges as recently as 10:01 AM today, some 38 minutes before this article was published, to organise an interview time. I would be more than willing to publish these emails to clarify this matter if you so wish.

    It is a shame your publishing deadline prevented an accurate picture of the future of Particls.

    Although, there has been recent personnel changes, as alluded to above, the development team remains committed to the concept and continues to work diligently to deliver a strong product. I would not continue to commit serious man hours and funding to the project if it were truly in the dead pool.

    I remain available for a more lengthy interview at a suitable time.

    Thank you for the free publicity.

    Stephen Kelly
    CEO Peepel

    Ashley Angell
    CTO Faraday Media
    anonymous
  • you've got to be kidding...

    I am purely shocked at pathetic speculation of this article; how does this justify publishing? The fact that this piece has been published only serves to diminish the reputation of zdnet - not to mention the author

    Disclosure: I have a keen interest in 2.0 tech and have been fortunate enough to chat to Steve Kelly at conferences regarding particls
    anonymous
  • Follow-up story please!

    Brad,
    Given the comment from Stephen and Ashley that Particls is still in business can you please post a follow-up story.

    Kind Regards,
    Scott Carpenter

    http://www.invoiceplace.com
    anonymous
  • Follow-up

    Hello Ashely,

    You are correct in your first point - it was an error to leave in the comment regarding your failure to respond - that was correct at the time that the story was filed (around midday of the previous Friday) and not at the time when it was published. I should have alerted the editors at ZDNet and asked them to modify that line. I'm sorry for failing to do so prior to publication.

    That said, while you maintain that the technology is still in development, you've not responded to the initial question of why both websites are offline, which was the thrust of my initial query. I will contact you via email to set up a time to talk, and look forward to hearing about new developments with the business.

    Thanks,
    Brad
    anonymous
  • Of course ...

    ... that should read Hello Stephen and Ashley.
    anonymous
  • Very Curious

    I adored the first Particls and cannot see what they gained by losing that. What IS going on? I also note that their engagd.com openID server is out as well.

    The Peepel looks a little basic and belies its strengths massively. Such an idiotic 'theme'
    anonymous
  • Huh?

    The Peepel looks a little basic and belies its strengths massively. Such an idiotic 'theme'


    What do you mean by this?
    anonymous
  • Speculative, lazy and silly

    I agree with the poster above that the speculative nature of the article is very poor.

    Brad, you've taken the time to show you are informed about the players, but not the state of the game. You've pretty much just asserted that Particls is stuffed. This is completely unfounded - and it's incredibly poor journalism.

    It probably would have been sensible for Particls to have a placeholder page describing their return to stealth mode and their reasons for it, but that's no excuse for half-baked speculation.

    It's obvious from the response received from Ashley and Stphen that you're in the wrong - so why not simply retract the article?
    anonymous