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Six Apart resurrects Pownce in new microblogging platform

Pownce, the hosted Twitter-alike service Six Apart acquired last year, re-emerges as free, open-source app for Web developers called Motion.

At the Future of Web Apps conference in London this week, blog platform company Six Apart is announcing a new open-source platform called Motion, to be available for download, that enables any Web host or developer to host their own Twitter-like microblog service. The technology is derived from Pownce, the Twitter competitor Six Apart acquired last year (and then shut down).

With Motion, the company is "trying to evolve past a traditional blogging platform to newer social apps," Six Apart EVP Ed Anuff told me.

It's no surprise that this content platform company is working on a microblogging extension. Anyone in the blogging space would be a dope not to. What I do find interesting is that the product is software and not a cloud-based Twitter-in-the-sky Web service.

Anuff told me that many site developers want complete control over their branding, and want the capability to fully tweak their online product. You can't do that as easily when you're mashing up services from the cloud, he implied. It's why developers and Six Apart favor the software model instead.

However, Anuff did say that while the code for Motion runs locally, the data it calls is actually hosted by Six Apart. Anuff said Six Apart has the infrastructure to support the load that all their microblogging users might need. Also, since Motion-based microblogs can integrate with Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace (items posted in a social network can show up on Motion and vice versa), it does make sense to have one Web-based service acting as a gateway.

The official Zachary Quinto fan site's community page is powered by Motion. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

Six Apart will be announcing pre-qualified hosts for people who want the Motion product but don't want to run their own servers. The product will also be available later for the company's fully-hosted blog platform, TypePad.

To see Motion in action, Anuff recommends the Zachary Quinto fan site, whose community page is based on the service.

See also, Identica: Taking on Twitter with open-source software.