Wamaja (wamaja.mobi) is a new mobile-only social network with blogs, photo sharing, chat and integrated instant messaging . Wamaja members can IM with each other and with users on Google Talk, Chikka, Gizmo Tiscali.it and Jabber.
I found the inter-network IM worked well. Using it is easy although initially unintuitive and not documented anywhere on the site. What you do is add the party you want to IM with as a new friend using the format <user>@gmail.com. They will get a Google Talk chat request and you can immediately begin chatting. For the other networks replace gmail.com with chikka.net, gizmo.com, tiscali.it or jabber.org. It’s not necessary to have an account on the other system.
Wamaja supports picture messaging between members. Upload images to your gallery using browse for file and can include any of your pictures inside private and chat messages to Wamaja friends.
Although Wamaja is new, it seems to have quite a few users already, many apparently are using the iPhone version of the site at http://iphone.wamaja.mobi. Full profile search lets you quickly find and add friends. The site is available in Italian and English. Chat rooms and blogs are filtered by language, if you log into the English interface you will only see English language chat rooms and blogs.
Wamaja is from Italian based Icona. The company was founded in 1996 and has a background in developing custom communication and messaging systems for carriers and enterprises, so it’s not surprising that IM is a core part of Wamaja.
It will be interesting to see how Wamaja does. People join social networks because their friends are on them, it’s hard for new network like Wamaja to achieve a critical mass of users. For Wamaja the federated IM may serve as a hook with users joining to IM friends on other IM networks. There are other mobile social networks with federated IM, notably Bebo which inter-operates with AIM, WIM and Skype, but none that I know of that support the same mix of networks as Wamaja.
Ratings: Content: Usability:
Ready.mobi Score: 4 “Good”
Mobile Link: wamaja.mobi