Yobongo, the location-based open chat room for the iPhone and iPod Touch, officially opened its doors this morning, in select cities including San Francisco, Austin and New York City, while in parallel opening the opportunity for desiring cities to vote their way up the priority chart. The idea, as outlined in previous coverage, is putting a forum for discussion in your pocket for your local community to discuss anything in the world.
The service is following Foursquare's roots in starting slow geographically, which will no doubt draw some irritation from expectant users outside the covered geographies, but there's a method to the madness. San Francisco and New York are well-known social media hubs, central to the success of Twitter and Foursquare, and Austin is home to the SXSW event starting next week, which could be a high-profile beginning for Yobongo.
The launch also comes only days after the announcement of Facebook's acquisition of Beluga, a well-received group chat application also expected to make waves at the show. Caleb Elston, cofounder and CEO of Yobongo, says, "If we are not in your city, don't fret! You can vote to bring it to your city next :)" The app is now live on the iTunes Store.