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Show HN: Ping.gy – An app to connect with people within 1km from you (ping.gy)
62 points by vasanthv 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 51 comments

Unfortunately I wasn't really able to test this out as there are no users in my area, but I was wondering how you are tackling / plan to tackle the following problem:

Suppose two people are almost but not quite 1km away from each other and are having a conversation on there. To a third person who has one of these people in range, but not the other, the messages might seem quite confusing and/or they might feel addressed even though they are not.

A possible solution might be to define fixed cells of roughly 1km in diameter instead of using immediate neighbourhoods centered around every participant. Or you could dynamically create rooms and you are added to the closest one to you (up to some maximum size)? The latter might also help with getting any users at all in less densely populated areas.

An ideal solution would be to define cells based on clusters of people and connect anomalous persons to the nearest cluster. This should not only provide an optimum groups sizes based on an area's population, but also allow remote users to interact.

I played a MUD that had a distance system, and even some of the devices had longer distance than others.

What would happen would be that people would just communicate as best they could, and occasionally ask people to rely what they were saying in a general direction.

Of course, with a very limited world and a communication range of about 1/4 of the north-south distance of that world, relaying was pretty easy.

There were other in-game ways to send and receive messages, but none were nearly as convenient as this one. The real world, however, has plenty of convenient communication methods.

Funnily enough, this sounds like a human version of the hidden-terminal problem in wireless networking. But it's addressed in 802.11 by sending information about the other party with each packet, which wouldn't be desirable here.

Yes that can be a solution. The plan was to create a way to connect with people within a small neighbourhood or campus or building. 1KM is a max. distance to cover this area. So I was not planning for this scenario at all :)

Reminds me of Jodel and the now-defunct Yik Yak.

Yik Yak took the "cells" or "herds" approach. Some history here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yik_Yak

I'm not sure how you're going to avoid the same issues that Yik Yak faced.

"Ambient social networking" isn't new, but it's never taken off. Some reading:



I'm currently at Disney World where there are thousands of folks within 1 km of me, but when I visit this page on iOS, I don't see any place to message on the main page. It just shows the logo and the explainer text.

It would be nice to at least leave a message in my area, so future users can see it.

I don't see any feedback on what my current location is. I know my home ISP assigns me an IP address that location services place a 100km away from me — users have no way of verifying if their location was picked up correctly.

Thanks for this suggestion, will consider adding this. BTW, We don't use location from ISP, we get location form GPS. So it will be more accurate than getting from ISP.

I don't think my laptop provides you with coordinates based on GPS.

Indirectly, it can: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_positioning_system

(At least Chrome and Firefox can use this system; I'm no sure about the other browsers)

Already got the idea and published it.

Frankly the 1km radius is not a good idea, it will flood messages in crowded area, and display none in others.

This occurred to me as well about 7yrs ago (did nothing about it, naturally.... :-} ). I think I was going to christen it HocSoc (ad-hoc social network).

I was thinking about getting around that feast or famine scenario by encoding the user location as a geohash. And then chop off one char of precision from the end of the hash string on successive DB queries until a large enough group of people were included. Nice and easy to store and query the location as a plain string in the DB, too. Although - I was trying to figure out what to do about Greenwich near me, as that's where the most significant bit alters because of the prime meridian.

Perhaps draw a Voronoi diagram of pubs in the UK and use that?

Yes agreed. But is a good distance to cover a small neighbourhood or campus.

Yes, and that can bring a sense of community to a place that doesn't already have one. But I'm unsure how many neighborhoods or campuses would both not already have some ways of communicating... yet still want to create one. Physical proximity removes communications barriers, so you are solving a problem that may not exist.

Yes but unless they both are in same room. Imagine a soccer match or any tech event. These are some use cases I thought of while building this.

no users around me and I'm fairly central in London. Why not connect with the n closest users instead?

I second this. I am currently in a middle sized city in Germany that is not exactly focused on technology. I didn't expect to see any users (and I didn't). Even at significantly higher adoption, I can't imagine that I would ever see another soul on there.

Such a change would make the tool a lot more useful in areas like mine.

We just launched this today. Though it is a bad idea to roll out globally for this idea. I did want to spread the word and then target area wise. Not sure if it is gonna work.

I think you best bet would be to use either real world population density, or connected users density to scale the communication distance, so that people don't have to stay alone, and at the same time you still have a meaningfully limited range.

I don't think anyone will just stay connected alone in the hope that someone else may connect later.

Ya, I like this as an idea. It's tricky to handle the subdivisions, you might need something more like a minimum size before subdivision instead.

Cool, I built this last year during a hackathon. It wasn't a chat but a forum. I've built chats before but it didn't seem as useful.

My idea was to provide a way to augment reality, add context to your location, see what other people that were there before said, sort of like a virtual message in a bottle.

Bug report: hitting ENTER n times sends the message n times. Until the message box is cleared.

Thanks will fix it shortly.

For some reason, I only get a red message saying "Invalid location co-ordinates." when I try to post something (not that I expect anyone else to be within 1 km of me anyway).

On Firefox on desktop, clicked "yes" when asked to share my location.

That is weird. May I know where are you located?

Apparently Firefox locates me at 50.6138111,3.0423598999999997 (which is actually 3 km away from where I am, but that's not your fault) but your API responds with {"message":"Invalid location co-ordinates."}.

Maybe it's a problem with the decimals in 3.0423598999999997?

Another Yik Yak? Get ready for the fallout.

Looks amazing great work on finishing a great looking project! I made a similar application for iOS (www.zonemessenger.com) a while back with the same intent of getting people in contact within a 1km radius (have since updated the radius to match local demand).

And although I still think it could be a very valuable type of platform it is extremely hard to build the right community with enough critical mass. Best of luck! And if you ever want exchange experiences I'd be happy to help.


How do I know when the other messages I'm seeing were posted? Maybe those people have long gone and I have no idea I'm talking into thin air.

I am building a similar mobile app at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=zero.sleep.com...

I haven't launched it yet though. My goal is not a YikYak clone but an issue/karma tracker for real-world interaction.

If your curious to see what a more popular area looks like you can just hit https://ping.gy/api/ping?location=40.7128,-74.0060&skip=0

Posting into that is just as easy.

Made this a bit more fun since no one was around for me.

Because I live in the middle of nowhere and no one uses technology much here I decided to use a VPN as to which your site then gives me the following error: https://gyazo.com/3d54b08e90205e92e7744a086d92a703

Almost like Maritime VHF radio. The HAM radio guys are doing more crazy stuff so I don't count them.

It should show where it thinks I am.

Your parsing isn't too great. Try posting this: <img src=x onerror=alert(123) />

Thanks for reporting. Fixed it.

I would like to see this kind of service work to allow meeting fellow local hackers.

If interested please contact me (nicolas@kisscalls.com); I would like to donate to you the domain name "hackers.express".

It's just a pulsing smiley and a short description for me.

Same here. It didn't ask me for any location permission either, so I don't know how it would know where I am.

It did ask me for location (on Safari).

Can I suggest to have timestamps on the chatlog? A bit disorienting to not know when the last conversation happened.

Thanks.. Have added it.

Thanks for the change!

So like Jodel, Whisper, ...?

I was disappointed to find it isn't a mesh network app

How do you measure the distance ? postgis ?

Using MongoDb geonear

But why? why would you need this?

This is so cool. Simple, quick, effective. Good job, will be interested to see how it progresses.

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