This has been around for a few days now and I wanted to write a review of sorts on the service. The idea of being able to create BBM barcodes on your Facebook profile is a great idea. Facebook is the perfect portal to BlackBerry users who aren’t power users and familiar with all the features that BlackBerry has to offer. I have talked to friends over Facebook who have only discovered barcodes on their BlackBerry since I posted the BBM news to my wall. RIM aren’t the only people educating users through Facebook. SAM and MO BlackBerry, the avatars created by Rogers to educate their sales reps, use a variety of Facebook apps and posts to get the message out.
Even though it’s a great idea, the service still lacks in a few ways. The process to create a BBM barcode is very simple, all you have to do is follow the steps, input your pin, and the app will generate the barcode. Once the barcode is created, you can customize it and add it to your profile picture. The app will also create a box for your Facebook profile page, as well as a news feed post about the barcode. This is where the service starts to break down.
The profile picture that has your barcode attached doesn’t automatically get added to your profile. Instead, the new picture is placed in an album called “BlackBerry Barcode Generator Photos”. From there, you have to click “Make Profile Picture” in order to set it up. While this process is easy, I’ve noticed a lot of users who added it to their profile, but didn’t know where to find the new picture and thus never set it as their profile picture. While I’m not sure about what APIs are available when making Facebook apps, this is definitely something that can be improved by, at the very least, a message saying “make sure to add this picture as your profile pic.”
Also added to your profile is a small box that contains a BlackBerry with your barcode inside. I can’t figure out what the point of this box is. The barcode is so small that I couldn’t scan it with a Bold 9000 or a Bold 9700. At the very least, this barcode box should expand to a larger version of the barcode that can be more easily scanned.
Another issue with the service is that RIM missed an opportunity to integrate this feature with the Facebook for BlackBerry app. RIM know how many users have installed Facebook on their BlackBerry, they have their email addresses and accounts logged. How difficult would it have been to write code that tells you how many of your Facebook friends have a BlackBerry and thus can connect with you on BBM? I’m sure it’s technically possible. They could have also integrated this with their MyBlackBerry social network, but that’s not as important in my opinion.
Overall, I would say this is a great initiative by RIM, but whoever is in charge of the program didn’t have the vision to take it as far as it should have gone. Hopefully we’ll see an update to this service, or some integration, but my guess is that this was a one-trick pony.