IM Map Navigator – locate & track instant messenger friends on a map
Jul 30, 2012 12:09 PM –
IM Map Navigator lets you locate and track friends and family members, and then instant message with them via Google Talk. It’s not dissimilar in concept to apps we’ve already looked at before, most notably Glympse, but how does this compare?
Price: Free, $1.99 for ad-free version
Tested on: HTC One X, HTC Desire HD
Pros & Cons:
- Locates contacts, friends and family members!
- Great means to communicate when geography is an important factor!
- Send messages and photo messages!
- Great extra features for finding: Gas Stations, Parking, Restaurants, Convenience Stores, Buses, Metro, Coffee and Hotels!
- Draws contacts from your Google Account. Great if you’ve got 20-30, a nightmare if you have thousands via Google Plus. Weirdly, they’re not even in alphabetical order.
- Invites are seemingly not sent immediately.
- Battery drain.
- Awkward user interface.
The concept behind IM Map Navigator is an ambitious but highly useful one. If you have a set of friends or different members of your family, and you want to locate them, all signing into this app is a pretty neat solution- especially if geography is important in certain situations.
For example, perhaps all the family are getting together for the holidays and you want to see how far away some of them are. Maybe you’re attending a music festival with your friends and want to make sure you don’t miss each other. You might also want to share your location with people if you plan on meeting them somewhere.
With IM Map Navigator, you can do all the above and more. The app can additionally find all kinds of useful locations around you. These include- Gas Stations, Parking, Restaurants, Convenience Stores, Bus Stops, Metro, Coffee places and Hotels. This is great but it doesn’t offer directions, just map locations, nor does it provide contact details. While this is a nice additional feature to the app, you’re simply going to prefer Google Places for too many reasons.
Unfortunately the app has a number of issues that, for me anyway, puts it behind other location-based services like Glympse. It logs into your Google account and prompts you to invite your Google contacts. Now, I have probably around 20-30 close contacts I’d want listed, but it instead lists every single contact I’ve made through Google Plus which is in the many, many hundreds. This alone might not be too much of a problem if it wasn’t for the fact the list isn’t in alphabetical order, so you can only trawl through them to find the right people.
You can select to invite a friend, but this invite will only be received when they download and log into the app itself. This is in contrast to Glympse which doesn’t require log-in or even download for the person you want to share your location with. This just adds to an altogether awkward user experience which, while it is a great idea, doesn’t seem to be executed very well. To top this off, the battery drain is significant making it a risky app to use if you’re out and about- which is exactly where it’s most useful.
I really love the idea of the app and I hope the issues can be solved but until then it’s not the best user experience and quite unintuitive.
Watch on Mobile
IM Map Navigator – Useful local locations
IM Map Navigator – Friend location on map
IM Map Navigator – Set status
IM Map Navigator – Talk status
IM Map Navigator – Received messages – cannot reply from here
IM Map Navigator – Send photo message
IM Map Navigator – Contacts prompt
IM Map Navigator – Contact location request
IM Map Navigator – Add places
Ideally, this should be a superb app for communicating with friends or family while out and about. Being able to message (even picture message) is brilliant, even if it is just stapling on Google Talk features for it to do so. I think however, because of the UI and issues with contact management, it doesn’t represent a better option than the likes of Glympse.
Ease of Use:
The app is mostly tricky to use and certainly not intuitive. It requires everyone to download the app, allow location to be shared and have a stable Internet connection to really make the most out of its features. The app needs to be easier to adopt and far easier to use as people aren’t going to use it.
This would depend on the user, and the assumption that noted issues are resolved to the point the app is more usable in the first place. If the battery issue was resolved somewhat it might be something you would consider using more often. Right now, however, I think there are far better options to try out before this one.
The interface is very average to be honest and I’m not entirely convinced by the design. Tabs are great in the Place Search section but the tab to reach this is tiny. To enter a status requires you to press a tiny pencil icon and it altogether just feels poorly designed.