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Can Gatsb be great?

A new mobile-oriented social networking service debuts.

There were a number of presenters at Tuesday night's New York New Tech Meetup, but the one that everyone seemed to want to know about was Gatsb, which has the potential to be one part Twitter, one part Radar (previous coverage here), and one part Yelp. I say "has the potential" because those comparisons largely sprang up from the audience at the Tech Meetup. Founder Andre de Cavaignac, who was demonstrating the site, just portrayed it as a cool way to share camera phone pictures online with location data.

(And, yes, it's pronounced "Gatsby.")

In order to sign up, you send a text message that says "hello" to and follow the instructions in the text message reply that it'll send you. It currently works with the major carriers, excluding Sprint, so I couldn't actually try it out because I'm a Helio user. But once you've gotten started, you can share mobile phone photos as well as information about the location where they were taken--venue names, street addresses, intersections, etc. You can also use Gatsb's mobile functions to announce your own location and find out where people on your friends list are (akin to the now-essentially-defunct ), or learn what other Gatsb members have said about a particular location. Currently, it appears to only be available to New York City-based users.

What Gatsb needs right now is direction. The audience at the Tech Meetup seemed impressed that the site manages to mesh nanoblogging, photo sharing, and location-based services--multiple commenters raised the possibility that Gatsb could start focusing on user-generated reviews (like Yelp) with a mobile-oriented, always-accessible slant. That could certainly differentiate it from the Twitter-clones that have been popping up recently, and could make it either a popular service for social urbanites on the go--or a hot acquisition target. But it's got a long way to go.

It's cool, definitely. It's in a very, very, very early stage. And the commentary at the Tech Meetup was encouraging. We'll keep an eye on this one.