Beta Review: SocialScope Version 0.9.5.92 with Foursquare and Flickr Integration

17 Comments

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.

  • Roberto

    if @amitkumar01 wasn't such an ass, and if he had told the truth (just a select few get the updates, the rest are frozen in whatever version they have), @socialscope would have les haters… instead, he kept telling lies, and eventually stoped saying anything, and his apps seems to be on perma-closed-beta by now.

  • http://mosaeus.com/ @mosaeus

    Great review, I've been (lucky enough to be) on the beta since early last year. One note re: Foursquare, you do have the ability to add a venue if it doesn't show on the list, if you search for something that isn't there, a “just check-in” or “create venue” option pops up.

  • kylemcinnes

    I know it's frustrating to be stuck in an old version of an app, but we can't blame SocialScope considering it's their app and are free to do whatever they please with it. I'm sure they'll make it public once it's ready. Patience is virtue.

  • kylemcinnes

    Thanks @mosaeus. I just realized after your comment that if you scroll down all the way to the bottom of the venue list, there is an option called “No Listed?” where you can search and add venues. Because my list of venues was so long, I never bothered to scroll to the bottom and instead just pressed the menu button. Future versions should definitely include the “add venue” and “search venue” in the menu.

  • Ender

    I'm curious if you got a hold of the developers before posting this, otherwise it's in violation of the agreement for being part of the beta process…

  • Roberto

    My problem is not for the app being in a long beta, or them having a small number of true beta testers, and letting “x” people use .44/.81, and never updating them. My problem is with their lies, they tell you that the update is random, but it isn't, they say you will be updated, but you WONT, they tell you that you will eventually get in when you sign in, but… thats long closed now.

    And patience wont do me no good, because @amitkumar01 , developer of @socialscope (or @socialscopefail), decided to ban my SS account, and to ban any SS account that uses my twitter account, because i said that no one was getting updated if they where not already in the “update train”, in way to many places :P

  • kylemcinnes

    Yep, no worries there as far as I know.

  • S.

    The problem I have is not only the frozen updates with nothing but a canned form-letter reply when you contact 'support'.. but the so-called invitations… I have been 'stuck' on the .44 for almost a year (in fact got SO tired of it after being a huge ss supporter that I have deleted it and gone to Seesmic and WILL NOT be going back to SS, even if they decided to update me…).. But my wife has been trying to get an invite for over 6 months, ALWAYS getting the brush-off email that invites will be 'coming soon, keep watching'… But others post on various forums that 'oh wow, I filled it out and got an invite in a matter of hours (or less)'.. If you are going to do an invite system where someone REALLY is in a que, then go thru the que! If you are going to pick people you like for some reason or other, or randomly throw darts at a board of names, TELL THEM.. DONT say “oh, watch your mail, it'll be coming”.. quit lying to people….

  • !mn07t34l

    I don't know how anyone can complain about having .81 when it's the same as .92. Same features, same UI. If you're lucky enough to have SS, you should just count your twitter blessings and sit tight.

  • carlosp

    I guess i'm one of the lucky bastards that has a socialscope acct.. my question is how do u update it to get all these new features?

  • http://twitter.com/brian_couture Brian

    SocialScope is hands down the best app (so far) to see feeds across multiple platforms on one screen. I say bravo to SocialScope. I'm shocked no one else has gone down this road, since it's the best way to go with an app now, in my opinion. Seesmic for Blackberry has handled the sending side of their app with Ping.fm , but you are not able to view cross platform feeds.. Now that was an oversight that I hope they correct. So basically with Seesmic for Blackberry, you get a Twitter app that can update all the other services… Useless if I am unable to also read the other services from the app. I believe that if Seesmic for Blackberry made that one change to enable users to read feeds from multiple sources, they would trounce SocialScope. If I was the decision maker at Seesmic, I would make that happen.

    I hope more developers realize that we want 1 app that does everything lol. I don't want a different app for each service. So if you're making the next best Twitter app, or Facebook or LinkedIn… I won't be using it. I will use the app that integrates all the services together.

    And right now, the winner of that game just happens to be SocialScope.

    I hope Blackberry app developers are reading this ;-) There is so much opportunity here to dominate with a properly designed app.

  • Roberto

    oh, me beeing angry (somehow getting twittissimo and a good weekend finaly allowed me past that :P), prevented me from actually saying that this was a nice review :P

    also, i agree that the app is THE app. Too bad i don´t have it :P

  • http://blog.cocchiararo.com.ar/ Roberto

    didn't they add twitlonger or similar since .88 ? !fb

  • jeffrutledge

    I am extremely frustrated by socialscope's approach to releasing their application. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to who gets what version of the beta. I know that sounds like sour grapes (I'm on .44 for the record), but that's not the frustrating part. It's the fact that there's no reason not to release now and then update the app. Unless they're planning to release a $20 app (which would be suicide), why not release it now and offer free updates to the 1.x version. Then they can charge a smaller upgrade fee for major versions. As it stands now, the features listed in .92 above could have easily qualified for a v2.x upgrade. Instead, they seem to be waiting until the app is “perfect” before pulling the trigger. As a result, based on the comments I've read on Twitter and other forums, they're alienating and frustrating the very people who could be their greatest voice.

    On a positive note, it speaks to the quality of the application that I still use it. I don't believe there's much worse you can do to your customers than cut off communications (as they seem to have done…no word on their plans or timelines) and all things being equal, I would have dropped Socialscope months ago. I don't though, because there's nothing else out there (as far as I know) that can do what it does.

    The question is – How long will that last?

  • jeffrutledge

    I am extremely frustrated by socialscope's approach to releasing their application. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to who gets what version of the beta. I know that sounds like sour grapes (I'm on .44 for the record), but that's not the frustrating part. It's the fact that there's no reason not to release now and then update the app. Unless they're planning to release a $20 app (which would be suicide), why not release it now and offer free updates to the 1.x version. Then they can charge a smaller upgrade fee for major versions. As it stands now, the features listed in .92 above could have easily qualified for a v2.x upgrade. Instead, they seem to be waiting until the app is “perfect” before pulling the trigger. As a result, based on the comments I've read on Twitter and other forums, they're alienating and frustrating the very people who could be their greatest voice.

    On a positive note, it speaks to the quality of the application that I still use it. I don't believe there's much worse you can do to your customers than cut off communications (as they seem to have done…no word on their plans or timelines) and all things being equal, I would have dropped Socialscope months ago. I don't though, because there's nothing else out there (as far as I know) that can do what it does.

    The question is – How long will that last?

  • http://www.smallman.net.nz Marty

    Regarding the “New Style” retweet feature. You can in fact use the “old style”and edit the retweet before sending.

    If you Open the item you will see 4 options below the item. Click the “Arrow” that points to the right (Share). Then rather than hitting the Retweet option, hit the QUOTE option. this will allow you to edit the tweet.

    I have been a beta tester since early days and the app is coming along nicely…

  • http://twitter.com/D_Town96 D_Town96

    By the time this thing finally gets released it may be behind. Whereas last year they were offering something fresh and different, new phones are already allowing you to combine twitter and facebook stuff into one box, post to multiple platforms via a single update etc. Android phones does this and I think os6 will as well.