Imo Instant Messenger Webapp Review – 7 out of 10
>By James Lenhart
The popularity of HTML5 driven “webapps” is rising and so is the hardware to run such things. For example, Samsung just released their first Chromebook and that means more users will be searching for apps. Keep in mind that the market is very young, but apps like imo.im show where we’re headed. The first web browser was developed in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee and was titled “WorldWideWeb”. It was only two years later before the first graphical browser was made titled Mosaic, and we’ve been improving ever since. The review for imo.im will be judged upon the following: UI, Practicality, and Usability.
UI – 8 out of 10
Imo.im has done a fantastic job at creating virtual draggable windows that make you feel like you’re really running a program. Desktop notifications and sounds that can be customized is also a big plus. Aside from the fact that I feel like I’m just browsing a web page it’s really good. Although, upcoming versions of Chrome should help take care of that. On the left it shows the accounts you are connected to, and on the right it shows the people you can connect with. I think as time goes on the UI will become more refined, but I was definitely impressed on first launch.
Practicality – 7 out of 10
If you’re looking for an app to connect you to multiple communication platforms then you’ll find this practical. Otherwise, it may seem a little overwhelming that you can connect to MSN, Skype, Yahoo, Google Talk, Facebook, AIM/ICQ, Jabber, VKontakte, MySpace, Hyves, and Imo Now. Here’s the deal – click on imo now and it will setup an independent chat room with it’s own URL. You can then share that URL with others to meet you in the same room. The URL is also shortened, which means great for Twitter users. And that leads me to ask why is there not Twitter support in imo.im? I would actually find this more practical if it were present, but it’s possible that restrictions from Twitter hinder them from being able to integrate it into this app properly.
Usability – 6 out of 10
I had no problems logging into the accounts I wanted, but that doesn’t mean everything was a breeze. I tried to voice and video chat through Skype and Google Talk without success on my CR48. However, it was a different story when I did the same on my PC. Things worked very smooth on my desktop, but it wouldn’t recognize that the CR48 has a camera and mic. In fact, I had no problem talking to a buddy on Google Talk using Voice and Video on the CR48; so I’m not quite sure what the problem is. Maybe imo.im needs to build in better support for Chromebooks, or specifically the CR48. Regardless that the CR48 is a piece of reference hardware given to me for free — I feel like it should still be able to run an entire app — even if it doesn’t do it well.
Wrap Up – 7 out of 10
Sorry if you were expecting more catgories, but I couldn’t think of anything else to judge it on. If you have an idea just tell me. Overall this app is great and I think I will actually use it more since I’ve sold my daily laptop until I find something else. I’m guessing that the performance of the imo.im app will be better on a new Chromebook, but was disappointed that I could not make video calls through Skype or Gtalk. The other aspect that hurt the score was the absence of Twitter. Although, maybe their goal is to offer a real-time instant messaging platform, which is something that Twitter isn’t quite doing yet. I direct message a lot of people using Twitter and would have found it useful to have all of this in one UI, but I understand if this geared more towards the real-time IM geeks. I would definitely tell people to try this app.
Editor-In-Chief of allGeekTV -- Aside from my blogging adventures I love to listen to music of all kinds. I'm always thinking of something new, so keep an eye on me, but keep in mind I'm human and make mistakes.