Developer: politico Tracker
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Display Rating: ★★★★★
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆

Reuse Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Writing a review for a game is pretty easy. Writing reviews for news or utility apps can be a bit tougher because there are few surprises, little emotional involvement, and usually painfully straight forward. For this reason I contacted Erwin Mazariegos, owner of politicoTracker, to talk with him about his app Politico Tracker Twitter Edition. Speaking with him gave me the ability to get some insider information so that I could provide 148apps.com readers with more valuable information than just my opinion.

What was the inspiration for Politico Tracker Twitter Edition?
This app is a companion app to politicoTracker. politicoTracker is an app that follows politicians in the news so you can easily stay in tune with what they are doing. The Twitter Edition serves the purpose of being able to hear what they are saying. The idea for politicoTracker was inspired during the 2009 election when it occurred to him that the app would be a great way for people to stay on top of the news of their favorite politicians. Inspiration for the Twitter Edition came from the knowledge that politicians are twittering. It made sense that people would want to know what they are saying on a day-to-day basis.

Easy to navigate interface

Easy to navigate interface

How Politico Tracker Twitter Edition Works
This app is a search aggregator. Each politician is treated as an object. Each object can be combined with others to create many different search results. The result is an app that provides a Twitter page for each politician. There’s also an aggregate feed for each state so you can read the timeline for the entire state. The list currently consists of about 6,000 300 individual feeds and is maintained and updated by Erwin himself. Each time you run the app it updates itself to include any new politician updates. If your favorite politician has a Twitter page, but isn’t listed, you (or the politician him/herself) can go to the contact tab of Erwin’s website and submit the information.

Use of the app is pretty intuitive. You’re presented with a list of each state’s political figures. Select the politician you want to read about and voilá, you’re looking at a modified Twitter web page. This is really cool because unlike a feed in a dedicated Twitter client, you get to see the politician’s custom Twitter page. If you want to follow the politician on this app, just click the plus sign on the top right corner of the page to make him a favorite. Once you have an established list you access all of your favorites through the apps icon in the top left corner of the home screen. If you want to remove a politician from your favorite list later, just click on the trash icon in the top right corner of that person’s page and it will no longer appear in your Favorites list.

One of the really cool features of this app which dawned on me early on, and was later emphasized by the developer himself, is that you can use this app without a Twitter account. This is great because you don’t have to open an account, or you can keep your existing personal/business Twitter account free from political timelines. In a sense, this app turns into a dedicated Twitter client. The only downside some may see is that this app is read only. Erwin expressed to me that if there’s enough interest he will integrate writing capability.

I am the Governator

I am the Governator

Each Twitter feed works as expected. You can click URLs and other links in the Tweet. You can see pictures, documents, and webpages right within the app. Once you’re on the linked page, you have the option to Bookmark the URL, save the full page, or open the page in Safari. Bookmarking the URL in Politico Tracker Twitter Edition saves a bookmark in the Favorites page, with the politicians’ pages, of the app. To save the full page produces the same effect, but you don’t have to have Internet access to read the page because it downloads the page to Politico Tracker Twitter Edition.

I did find getting to the Favorites a little difficult at first. I also didn’t understand the difference between bookmarking a page and saving a page. Then I went to the user guide found within the app and everything was explained. Personally, I like an app that doesn’t require a user manual to pick up on some of the main functionality, but it’s good that they can be found easily enough if you have to look.

Final Thoughts
This is a well-planned app. I’ve never been much into politics as they frustrate and anger me more than anything else. That doesn’t negate the fact that I should follow local politicians to be informed about what’s going on. It can be very frustrating to find and follow news about local or interesting politicians. Erwin’s dedication to maintaining a database consisting of 6,000 politicians, and growing, is commendable. If you’ve been meaning to get into politics, or you’re a stalwart fan, Politico Tracker Twitter Edition makes easy work of staying abreast of political news.

Is there an accent in here?

Is there an accent in here?

Future Apps and Anything Else?
Using this search technology, Erwin has one specific idea for a future app called Issue Tracker. Similar to Politico Tracker, it will use search criteria based on 50–100 news events. It will provide people with the ability to easily keep track of current events (think Bail Out, Guantanamo Bay, or GM to name a few) without having to run a search in Google every time they want to get the latest developments. Erwin is really excited about the potential search objects bring to the table and is looking to develop more apps using this search technology to provide new and exciting utilities for information gluttons.

Erwin always wants feedback and suggestions on his apps. Contact him through his website and let him know what you think and/or feature requests. It was fun speaking with Erwin and I look forward to trying out his other creations.

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

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