Locating or communicating with your friends before the invention of smartphones seems like a distant memory. The emergence of Android has made communication so much accessible that you are just a WhatsApp away from knowing what your friends are upto. While there have been loads of SoLoMo applications around the Play Store, Navigale is an application developed by SocialAppsHQ (Part of Shimply Software) that tries to locate your friends.
How does Navigale work?
The application starts off with a ‘Login to Facebook’ action and can collect your personal data (pages you like, your friends) to show customised suggestions for you. The login process is smooth and the application as of now works without any glitches. The home screen welcomes you with notifications of people who are near you along with the radius of their distance. If you are one of those for whom privacy is a premium concern, you can check the ‘Settings’ feature and make sure your location is visible to ‘Friends Only’.
You can also select ‘Like Minded People’ (which was turned on by default) which takes in to account your Facebook likes and based on that shows you the people whom you might have a good conversation with (More your likes meet, More talking points you have with the person). A nice way for a new person in the city to catch up on some free time with people around him who he shares common interests with.
You can also chat with (or say Hey) with people listed nearby you. The first step the application does is asks you for a number (which I am really not sure what is the need of, maybe one more way to collect personal information!) This can be a good way to start an online conversation and convert it to an offline meetup. However, the chat features are pretty basic and the support for Rich media/emoticons in the age of WhatsApp is a necessity for smartphone users.
By clicking on a person’s profile you can also check what you have in common with the specified user’s interests (based on the pages he/she has liked similar to you) and plan your conversations around the same. You can hide from the application (People cannot find your location) for a specific duration which you can select under the ‘Settings’ panel. This is a must have for any location based application to avoid unnecessary tracking and to protect user privacy.
The good and areas of improvement for Navigale
One of the pains I experienced was when the application prompts you to Invite friends through Facebook or your Phone contacts. The application by default selects the whole list of Friends on Facebook and there is no option to ‘Select/Deselect All’ . So what if I have to invite a selected few? I would have to uncheck all of the unwanted friends in the list and then proceed. That itself is such a big turnoff!
The list of people shown is not real time and can be improved. The people shown closest to me had logged in to the application 2 days back (So I really don’t know at this particular time are they at the same location). A real time filter option that can let the user filter out checkins to the app in the last hour or so, would make the application more real time and the application itself more meaningful.
The application is still in it’s nascent stage and being a location based app can surely have more features added in the weeks to come. A ‘recommended places to visit’ or ‘Places to explore’ can be a nice way to find out more around the location you are currently. Also, the application can have many more features added as far as the conversations among the community is concerned.
Design wise, the application is simple and quick and loads on my Canvas 2 without any lags. However, with privacy being always an issue with real time locations, I think the application might have to take the right measures to ensure user’s privacy isn’t compromised. The application as of now is launched only for Android devices and I think the app availability on other platforms might be depending on the traction they get on Google Play.
What do you think about Navigale? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
You can download the application from Google Play