BumpIn.com is a service we covered some months ago that lets you have live conversations with people visiting the same webpage as you. Their main product is a pretty sophisticated browser-plugin that lets you discover and connect with people who are visiting the same webpage as you – this can be useful to find people shopping for similar items, reading the same breaking-news story, or even in following offline comments left by others like a discussion board.
I think the best parts of their plugin is the fact that you can not only find people on that site, but people reading other pages on that site and also similar websites from across the net. This gives it a touch of both stumble-upon type discovery service and a me.dium style commenting service.
In addition, once you start to get to know people on their network you can add them to your friends list and have one-on-one conversations with them too, which adds a social element to the service.
Recently they’ve unveiled a web-based chat widget based on the service too – website owners can add the widget to their site to connect all the readers of the site together, no plugin installations required.
I had been a bit skeptical about the service being offered as a browser-plugin, but the thing that a browser-plugin allows is for users to "opt in" to experiencing that type of browsing. Some people may not want to always have a social browsing experience, and so they can always turn off the browser plugin in that case.
BumpIn is one of the startups that Umar Saif is involved with. During their private beta they have been making steady progress by integrating their service with social networking and web2.0 sites. They recently raised an angel round of funding from private investors – some of them are the people behind Aliph’s Jawbone.
This service is something that will benefit from the network effect – becoming more useful as more people use it. If they could integrate some A-list social networks then the service would become really interesting. Good luck to them.