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Find Friends Near You Using NaviGale [App Review]

navigale-logoI have always wondered how people used to plan and meet at an exact spot before the popularity of mobile phones. Even with mobiles, pin pointing someone in a crowd is often a problem.

NaviGale, an Android app, by Shimply Software hopes to solve this problem by helping you find and connect to friends and people with similar interests close by.

Features & Performance

After downloading the app, one must login with a Facebook ID. A list of results will be loaded based on your Facebook friends who are already using the app, as well as other users nearby who have similar interest or are mutual friends with a Facebook friend of yours.

The list is displayed in a very nice manner and one can see apart from the name, a brief description of the person based on their Facebook profile, as well as if you have mutual friends or interests. There is also a compass showing you where the contact is, how far away and when he/she last used the app.

 

The initialization and loading up of results when one uses the app for the first time, takes a bit longer than usual. The list is sorted out by contacts that are close by.

Clicking on a single contact, will show you more details, including who your mutual friends are and also what are the interests you have in common. The interests are based on Likes of Facebook Pages. So if you are a person who has liked a lot of pages you are more likely to find more people with this app.

The best part of this app is the compass, which shows you where a contact is. While the direction is shown in real time, we had to keep refreshing to get the distance to work. Using this one can easily direct oneself to a friend you are meeting.

There is also a chat option, so one can message a contact. It is very basic and we missed the support for emoticons as well as for some reason we did not receive notifications in our notification tray and had to open the app to realize that we had received a chat message. To use chat, one has to enter their phone number we are not really sure why this is required.

There is also a map option in the contacts by which one can plot how far away from a contact you are. We wish this was also more real-time which would make finding someone easier.

One can invite Facebook friends and phone contacts to use the app so that you can grow your list.

One major issue we had with this app, was the lack of ability to filter the result list. We would like options to sort the list by only friends or by users last seen in a particular time frame.

Privacy

With an app like this, privacy is of a major concern. To tackle, the developers have taken various measures including giving users the option to show location to only friends or to friends and like minded people. One can also filter results based on which groups you like.

One can also hide his/her location for 1-5 days. We wish there was an option to make this longer.

Also the app tracks your location only when you open the app and not all the time. We definitely think this is a smart move on the part of the developers.

An option for users to change their display picture (not pull from Facebook) could go a long way to protecting privacy and the developers should think about including it.

Future Features according to the developers

While the app is still in its initial stages, the developers say they plan to introduce some very interesting features soon. There will soon be an option to form groups, which can be used to chat and for other services. Another interesting feature will be “Ask questions” by which users can asking anything and people nearby can answer. This will be useful to people trying to get directions or find something and don’t have anyone nearby to ask.

 The Team

The company behind Navigale is Shimply Software (The parent company of “SocialAppsHQ”). Shimply Software is a self funded organization. The company was started in the year 2011 by Rajat Garg with the aim of providing companies with an all-in-one social media marketing platform. Rajat Garg graduated from DCE followed by MS at Stanford University in 2005. He has worked in companies like Amazon and Seattle startup DataSphere. The company has a 10 member team working on various products in the social media domain and NaviGale. SocialAppsHQ is an social media marketing platform that counts Better Business Bureau (BBB), Cadbury Bournville, Vin Diesel, RedBus, AARP, and WebMediaBrands as clients.

 The app is definitely in its initial stage with its fair share of bugs, but we like the concept and the UI as well as the privacy options in the app and can’t wait to see where the developers take this app.

 So if you want to play a game of modern hide and seek or locate a friend in a crowded mall or metro station, download NaviGale for Android (free) and give it a try.

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