Thursday, July 12, 2007

TECH TALK - Desperate but fearful? Dial R for Restroom

Can’t hold it but dread visiting a public restroom? At the push of a few buttons on your cell-phone (in the United States), you can now get a list of the nearest, cleanest public facilities at your disposal.

Mizpee is a new web service that lets users open a web browser on their phone to or send a text message to get a list of nearby bathrooms, along with cleanliness ratings ranging from one to five (toilet-paper) rolls and user-generated comments.

Peter Olfe, who set up the advertisement-funded service for fledgling location-based mobile service Yojo Mobile, has said he was inspired to create the site after visiting a public bathroom “that was so dirty I had a splitting headache within two minutes.”

“I realized the demand for such information. Many don’t plan ahead, so it seemed like a natural service to provide,” he has explained.

The service is currently available in a list of US cities including San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Washington DC, Boston, and Chicago, but plans are afoot to ensure that Mizpee is available in every major city in USA within the next year.

Expansion is also planned to London, Paris and Beijing.