SocialScope is still very much in private beta but their app has continues to grow and get updated. The latest version has a very clean UI with additional social networks and features. It’s not clear why the company has chosen to keep the app hidden from the public, but I’m sure there are advantages to keeping a small beta testing group until the product is totally polished. Lets take a look at where the app is now and what can be improved.
SocialScope is building itself as a hub for social networks. Currently, you can add multiple Twitter accounts, a Facebook feed, a Foursquare feed and a Flickr account. The SocialScope feed is the amalgamation of all of these accounts in one feed. After adding several accounts, the feed gets a little hectic, and I can only imagine how cluttered it would get if you have thousands of Twitter accounts followed.
Updating your status allows you to attach a picture (automatically uploaded to either Twitpic or Tweetphoto), a link or your location. You can also decide if you’re going to update your Facebook or Twitter status (or both). One thing I noticed about the Twitter integration, is that SocialScope uses the new way of displaying a RT, which shows the original profile who Tweeted, rather than that of the person who is doing the ReTweet. Personally, I’m not a fan of the new style, and would like the ability to choose.
The Facebook integration is very robust, allowing you to comment, write on someone’s wall, poke a user and like a status update. SocialScope Facebook integration is so good, I have very little reason to use the Facebook app for BlackBerry. At the very least, the developers of SocialScope should have been hired to write the Facebook app. The only thing it’s missing is the ability to jump from an email alert, directly into the application. This might be an API that RIM keeps secret as well.
The Foursquare integration could use a little work. I’m not a developer so I’m not sure exactly what features are available through Foursquare’s APIs, but the check-in process could be better. In order to check-in, you have to see the venue in the “venues nearby” section as the app doesn’t let you search for a venue or add one if it isn’t in the list. With a little more work, SocialScope could easily replace the official Foursquare app for BlackBerry.
As a side note, I wonder if companies like Foursquare should be writing their own app at all. Foursquare do a great job of making their APIs available to everyone, in order to promote creative use of the platform they have created. In a sense, making their own app means they have failed to make an API that is compelling enough for others to develop. Twitter have done a great job of this, and we see the success in the number of Twitter apps available. I hope we’ll begin to see a variety of Foursquare apps as well.
SocialScope gives the user the ability to create a new tab, which includes a SocialScope Group, Twitter List or My Timeline. SocialScope Groups are just like Twitter lists, but you can create them for any social network. This is an interesting feature as it gives you more control over viewing contacts in your networks. Combined with Twitter lists, you can break your social connections down to very manageable sections. Also available in SocialScope options is the ability to view Trends, Near Me, Go to Twitter User, My Profile and Public Timeline.
If SocialScope would improve the Foursquare integration, and add LinkedIn to the supported social network list, I would pay upwards of $10 for this app. With such a clean UI, and the plethora of features available, this is by far the best social network application available on BlackBerry. Now if only everyone could get access.