Pownce, the multifunction Web app for microblogging and file sharing is now open to every one, sans the need for invites. While invites have been made aplenty for every user to give out (I was getting about 10 a month), a few of you may remember a time when people were hawking invites on eBay for $10 a pop within a month of the service launching last June.
Besides opening up to everyone, there are some new features built in to entice members to interact with one another. The first is an all new contact scooper that will let you search for people you're friends with either by name or pulling information from your Facebook, Flickr, Digg, IM, and Web e-mail accounts. Many of the options don't even require a login, just a user name.
Additionally, the service is now up playing its events section, giving it a dedicated public page and adding subscription links for iCal and Google Calendar (although I couldn't get these links to work). Each event also gets its own page that includes over half a dozen RSVP responses to denote your attendance and user comments to chat with other attendees or ask questions to the event's creator. It's a far cry from dedicated invitation services like Evite or MyPunchBowl, but it's far improved from its previous iteration.
Not to be left out, all of these new features have made their way over to the desktop app that runs on the Adobe Air platform. Users can now directly reply to one another similar to some of the desktop Twitter tools have offered. It's not a full fledged IM service, but if two users are sending one another private messages via the app, it's pretty close.
I'm still on the fence about the usefulness of Pownce. I dig the design and community, but I've already invested myself in Facebook and Twitter enough to not want to add another service to my daily routine. I also rarely have the need to share files that fit Pownce's 10 and 100MB models for free and paid pro plan users. That being said, Pownce has Twitter beat on the feature list right now, and if that's where my Twitter friends end up, so will I.