Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hotlist for Android

@gena01 pointed me to a new Android app called Hotlist.

I will start by saying that Hotlist is awesome. Hotlist is the ultimate event finder, using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Yelp as its data sources. The best - or at least most hyped - feature is the boy-girl ratio for a given place or a given event, so you always know what you're getting yourself into.

That said, the implementation on the Android, at least in this stage, is lacking in My Humble Opinion(tm)

Main Screen
The app starts by asking you to log in to Facebook. Hmm, what about Twitter? Or Yelp? Or Foursquare? I guess the app uses those data sources as something non-personal? OK, let's play along.

I log into Facebook, and am presented with a very clean UI saying "Friends", "Places", "Events", "Alerts" and "Favorites". The default is "Friends" and it shows current events your Facebook friends are attending.

If I click an event on that list, I am taken to a place which lists all 715(??) people currently there (I clicked UCB). Or were there. Or may go there?.. Not sure about this one..

But it does give me a button to see which one of my friends are currently there as well as female/male ratio, the "Place Detail", "Tweets and Reviews", "Directions" and "Check In" buttons.

Tweets and Reviews are a dump of Yelp data about the current venue - I have not seen any actual Tweets yet.

Check In is a generic (wow Foursquare, you made that one generic already : ) UI to check in and notify your friends. I checked in - sorry for lying, but i have no idea where that lie went. No trace of my check in on Foursquare, Facebook, or Yelp. I guess I'll find out as my affair with Hotlist continues.

So far so good. Next, I click on "Places". I get a list of places around my neighborhood, which is your standard mix of bars, restaurants, night clubs and other sinful New York type of places. Clicking on any place brings up the same screen as before, with the ratios, details, check in, etc. Tweets and Reviews is still just Yelp though. Hmm.

Next up, "Events". This one is interesting - I get things like University of Chicago alumni reunion free drinks, some people's birthdays, some plays. No idea how this is pulled - Facebook crawl may be? The event detail screen is just like the place detail screen - much assumptions about the database layout were made in my mind pretty quickly on that one. University of Chicago seems to have male to female distribution very close to real world distribution BTW..

"Alerts" has a field called "Recommendations" - intriguing, but there is nothing there. I would think this would be the most useful - and most daunting to implement - feature to have in an app like this.

If you're still reading this, you win a prize in a form of me talking about what I think is the coolest feature this app has - "Favorites".

Favorites has two buttons - "Add a Venue" and "Add a Friend". They do what they say, and once you add your friends or venues, you can click on them from that list and see all the cool stuff that goes on in lives of people and bars/restaurants. Sadly though - and this is by far the biggest "sadly" of this software - this feature is broken. I "added" about half a dozen venues, and the app told me I did indeed do that, yet none of them showed up in this list. Out of all the people I tried to add to my friends list, only my wife made it. We will never know if this is a statement of support of fidelity or just server errors. Also, my friends list only loaded the first 15 or so people, and some of them loaded with no names.. Those shady weirdos.

There is also a "Search Friends" button in main menu, which seems to be the only way to really add friends to your favorites list, but it also has some problems - it asked me if i wanted to add the friend, and then asked me if it should remove them or keep them - all in a sequence of modal windows I had to interact with.

Clicking on my friend's detail page was fascinating though - many interesting events to attend in a palm of your hand and not on Facebook's mediocre events UI.

So, overall, this is an awesome idea for an app. But if the "Favorites" is flaky, and recommendations cannot be picked up from accessing my profile, and there is no way to tie in my Foursquare, Twitter and Yelp profiles - I would think this app has some bug fixing milestones to go yet.

Get it anyway, ride the wave!