Friends Map for Facebook: iPhone App Written Review
As professional iPhone application reviewers—I mean, someone has to be, right?—one of our chief goals is locating the perfect new addition to the Facebook experience. It seems like every other day a developer is introducing some new functionality to the social networking site, making our job a particularly difficult one. So, it is with a fair amount of pride that we’d like to introduce you to Friends Map for Facebook (AtlasCT) an app that makes creeping on your friends easily ten times simpler. The title allows you to track, via an in-app map, the exact location of your buddies, no matter where they might be. The app also comes with a load of geo-tagging resources that make creating hangouts a breeze. All in all, it’s just the Facebook gem we’ve been looking for.
Concept and Functionality
In essence, Friends Map is like Find My Friends for your iPhone, only with a deep integration with Facebook. The app combines the best of FourSquare, Gowalla, and Yelp, allowing you to simultaneously see where your friends have “checked-in” while researching nearby restaurants for a quick hangout. When a friend announces their location, Friends Map allows you to see directly where they’re located, thanks to the spacious in-app map. You can also report your own whereabouts to the masses, allowing them to see in exactly the same way where you happen to be standing.
It’s a brilliant idea, and as much as we love the execution, we are disappointed by the app’s only hang-up: Your friends must physically possess and use Friends Map for it to work. There’s no auto-tracking Facebook check-ins, as we might have liked. However, the app does make it easy for you to share Friends Map with your friends. Sadly, convincing enough of our mates to use it became quite the conundrum.
Design and Layout
Thankfully, though, the app’s layout and design can hardly be knocked. We greatly appreciated the tabbed browsing along the top of the app, which allowed us to easily swap between our friends, our location, and nearby points of interest. The latter was particularly suave, as Friends Map serves as a fully functional restaurant, ATM, cafe, hotel, etc. locator. In this sense, the app behaves a lot like Yelp, offering each of its discovered locations on the same map as your friends. This design lends itself to a speedy rendezvous, and we couldn’t be more tickled about it.
However, as much as we like the app and what it does for our social lives, we still aren’t fans of the integration required. For Friends Map to be much use, you really will have to get your friends to use it, and with so few people already onboard, the population is a stiff concern. However, Friends Map is free in the App Store, meaning it won’t break the bank to try-out: And if that’s not an invitation, we don’t know what is.
Friends Map for Facebook requires iOS 4.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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