MizPee: A site that tells you where to "go" on the go

Some call this the Pets.com of Web 2.0, but it could be handy in a crisis.

By Farhad Manjoo

Published June 28, 2007 7:28PM (EDT)

"I think it's safe to say this marks the beginning of the end for Web 2.0," reads the first comment in response to TechCrunch's post about a new start-up called MizPee. The start-up's mission is this: to deliver "pertinent information regarding the location of nearby restrooms," as TechCrunch's Duncan Riley puts it.

At first glance MizPee does sound pretty Pets.com -- a service that doesn't look especially useful, has limited apparent business potential and smacks of tech excess. To use MizPee you load up a browser on your mobile phone, go to mizpee.com, and then type in your location. The site will come back at you with a list of toilets nearby, including little icons that detail their cleanliness and amenities (diaper-changing stations, etc.) As many TechCrunch readers point out in the comments, this is a maddeningly circuitous route to relief: It'll take you two or three minutes to run a browser and then type a URL into your phone, two or three minutes in which you could just ask someone where to find a bathroom.

Still, I'm not hating this idea. Here's the thing -- sometimes there isn't anyone around to ask. And what if you're looking for a very particular sort of commode? Maybe you're a clean freak and need something sparkling, or maybe what you want to do requires privacy?

The bladder knows no bounds. MizPee's not an everyday utility, but one day, I'm sure, the exigency of elimination will overcome you too, and you'll be glad to have committed this service to memory.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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