Developer: Meebo, Inc.
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Functionality Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0040[1]If you’re one of those people who boast huge numbers of buddies amongst several different networks, Meebo has a lot to offer you through its instant messaging network. Boasting around 65 different networks that it can communicate with, most people will find at least one group they already belong to on the list.

Meebo uses the built in iPod keyboard for communication which, in my opinion, is not a bad thing. It’s certainly not as easy as a full keyboard on a home computer, but it makes it fairly easy for short conversations back and forth. Additionally, it has the added functionality of grouping all friends throughout the various networks into one, easy to use buddy list. This added functionality is great for those that have several different accounts that they use to communicate with. Personally, it was a whole lot of unused power for me.

Meebo does make it extremely frustrating to communicate if you frequently switch between your home computer and your iDevice for instant messaging. More often than not I would be trying to communicate with someone in AIM on my home computer, see them continue to type items in the window I had popped up, and never see anything come through. Ultimately, this information was received by Meebo and was awaiting my return to the iDevice. I spent a bit of time trying to figure out what setting I had turned off, before I realized this.

IMG_0042[1]Additionally, it took me several attempts to actually add each account, and some of them I could not add at all. For instance, I downloaded the app late last week and added all of my most used networks onto it. This process took 35 minutes because of the 4 networks I was trying to add, two of them didn’t ever end up working, and two of them took about 5 minutes each in the loading process. I came back a couple days later and finally was able to load one of the other two networks.

Even with these problems, adding networks isn’t all that difficult. The directions within the app are very clear, and finding networks is as easy as looking for them on the list within the app. Once located, clicking on the network will bring up an additional screen to interact with, before officially having the network loaded.

Graphically, Meebo is a lot of fun. Instead of the boring line by line conversations, chat bubbles appear on one side of the screen for you, and one side of the screen for whoever you are talking to. It makes it fun and easy to carry on conversations.

For those of you desperate to find a multi-network instant message program, Meebo is an acceptable option. It won’t necessarily make a difference, however, to those of us who restrict our conversation tools to one or two programs. The occasional problems with functionality further complicate the usability of the program as well. Overall, it’s really only for a niche audience at this point. Further improvements could see drastic changes to Meebo’s usability.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Social Networking

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