So far has technology come that we can now read each other’s thoughts through our smartphones. Well of sorts. Echoer is a new social networking app available on the iPhone that enables people to post their thoughts and nuances on their surroundings.
The idea is that you’re able to discover new and exciting places near to your location while in turn providing your own opinion.
Thoughts are retold through an echo speech bubble and can be categorised into Discoveries, Events and Thoughts. Each is colour coded in yellow, red and blue respectively making it easier to differentiate between them all.
Yet here lies our first gripe with Echoer. While the user interface is easy to master, when on the map (Google Maps) there didn’t seem to be any way of telling what a thought was referring to, until we clicked on the actual echo.
That’s not a problem if the thought reads something along the lines of “Queen Victoria pub has a cracking garden”, but if it simply reads “Cracking garden” how are you to know it’s not referring to someone’s new rose bush?
Our second gripe lay with the fact that when scrolling through the map, the echoes temporarily disappear until you stop moving your finger. This results in a stop-start process of trying to locate where all the echoes are.
Talking of which, despite playing with the app just 24 hours after launch, we were surprised to find so many echoes already posted. Further investigation revealed that Echoer is actually powered by Foursquare and initially echoes are made up of tips from that network.
However, Echoer is far more than a mere Foursquare spinoff. As it attracts more users, the idea is that people will “amp” particular echoes, with the “louder” echoes being pushed to the top and the more mundane and useless being relegated to the bottom. Think of the amp key as the equivalent to the Facebook Like button. It helps separate the wheat from the chaff.
Any particular favourite echoes can be posted to Facebook, Twitter or even emailed, and again Echoer’s clean UI means you can do so in just a matter of clicks.
Being a social network within its own right, Echoer is keen for you to build up your own profile. It might lack the personality of Facebook or Twitter - there’s no profile pic for example - but you can build your own community, "starring" fellow Echoers which in turn will keep you posted as to anything they have to say, while you can also star specific locations. We’ve starred a new bar we’ve wanted to check out for example.
Echoer is not without its flaws. However, having just launched, we expect these to be ironed out as more people begin using it. It’s a social network with a purpose - that purpose bringing more to the local community - and for that we applaud it.
Have you used Echoer? What do you think?