2 posts with tag “social networking”

Gowalla’s Misleading “Follow Friends” Page

Recently I got a Nexus One, which had me curious to discover the value (if any) of location-sharing applications like Foursquare and Gowalla. I had dormant accounts for both, and decided to see who among my contacts were actually using these things. I imagined not many.

Foursquare’s friend finder was straightforward and I was able to add three or four people. Gowalla’s, on the other hand, misled me into sending an invite to all 947 people in my Google contacts. This includes people I bought stuff from on Craigslist; old bosses; old girlfriends; co-workers; probably even prospective employers.

The trick was in mimicking a fairly standard “Step 2” format for these types of functions. It appears that I’m being presented two choices here: the first, to begin following only those contacts who are already on Gowalla; the second, to send invite emails to all checked names in the list.

Instead, both buttons do exactly the same thing. So when I clicked the button at the top, an email was sent to every person on that list. There was no pop-up window telling me, “You are about to send an email to 947 people. Continue?”

Fortunately I hadn’t used my full name on my profile; the email people received came from no-reply@gowalla.com or something similar; and I deleted my profile as soon as I realized what had happened. So hopefully I wasn’t as incriminated as I may have otherwise been. I know I roll my eyes whenever a friend has fallen for an obvious trap like that. And I like to think I’m pretty good at spotting these tricks. But this layout is outright deceptive.

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What I Want: A Comprehensive Photo Browser

litl_lifestyle_04After watching a demo video of the litl webbook; watching with envy the face recognition features of iPhoto and Picasa; and using Polar Rose, Photo Finder from Face.com, and Cooliris — I realized just how much potential there is for a fully-integrated photo browsing application. Either web- or desktop-based, photos could be pulled from your Flickr/Facebook/MySpace/etc. feeds, as well as those of your friends/family/contacts; existing tags would also be imported, and face recognition applied; and they would all be presented to you in a pure browsing interface, where the sources of these photos are hidden, and you are free to scan through them as part of one big collection.

I tried Flock again — for the tenth time in five years, it seems — thinking that it probably includes something like this. But bafflingly, it doesn’t. The “Media Bar” has a nice scrolling film strip of photos and videos, but only presents a single feed at a time. Not to mention, of course, that it doesn’t recognize any tags or faces

The social activity aggregators that I have seen are too all-encompassing, pulling in blog posts and statuses on top of photos, most often presenting those photos only as tiny thumbnails until they’re clicked. The guy in that litl video is right when he says that “We’re at the time where there’s the smallest percentage of photos seen to photos taken, because everyone takes photos but they just kind of end up on their computer, never to be seen again.” I guess truthfully I just kind of want to run litl OS in a VirtualBox.

Anybody know of a way to do something like this?

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