3bubbles is cool — but so what?

I hate to be a curmudgeon, but I just don’t see the point of something like 3bubbles.com, which Mike Arrington at TechCrunch profiled recently. I mean, my first response as a geek was hey, this is cool. Click on a link and see a little window pop up where you can chat in real time? That’s cool. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to agree with Pete Cashmore of Mashable, who says he’s skeptical, and Zoli Erdos, who is similarly unimpressed.

I could see a limited number of situations where real-time chat would come in handy, including when you’re looking for tech support on a website, which is one of the only places I’ve seen it before now. But on a regular blog? I don’t see it. Plus, as fellow Canadian Larry Borsato notes, chat kind of detracts from the commenting thing, which can be saved and viewed later by others. Would 3bubbles allow that? I don’t know. Maybe you could save the chats and then display them at some later point, like a conversation frozen in amber. I still prefer comments for a lot of reasons, as anyone who has read some of my previous posts will know.

Kent also wonders how many blogs would be able to sustain a chat conversation using 3bubbles, and answers “none.” And he notes that people sometimes “confuse a blue ribbon science project with a business.” An excellent point. I’m sure the gang at 3bubbles are just as nice as Stowe says they are, but if they came to me looking for financing, I would send them on their way. Not every cool idea is a viable business.

I could be wrong (it has been known to happen). Charlie O’Donnell of Union Square Ventures, who posted a comment here with a link to his own thoughts on the subject, thinks it could be the start of something big, but I remain skeptical. My friend Mark Evans thinks more than one cool Web 2.0 business suffers from the same problem: lots of cool, not much business.

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