I’ve never liked the term presence or the way the function is implemented in instant messaging systems. I want to indicate my availability — something that, at any given moment, may be different for my wife, my co-workers or my friends in the blogsphere. And, if I check my PC for messages at 6am, just before walking the dog, that doesn’t mean I’m planning to respond to those messages or accept calls or chats at that moment — my dog is desparate and she’s letting me know it!
Now there’s a new kid on the block, EnThinnai, that’s launched the beta of an information sharing site featuring privacy and control. They also include a concept of availability that looks very much as I desire.
In addition, they’ve done a peer-to-peer implementation with a choice of query (you only ask when you’re interested in knowing my availability) or subscribe (you want to be notified when I transition to a specific state). This makes a lot more sense to me than a central server farm monitoring everything I do and continuously broadcasting it to people who only contact me once or twice a year.