Running With Foxes

R

Trend Spotting 2.0

A new location-based AJAX meta-chat client, RadiusIM, just launched August 18th. They compete with other online chat clients like Meebo and the soon-to-be-great Wablet (stay tuned to TechCrunch), but most directly with the desktop client Meetro.

The feature that makes this product an notable entrant into the market is the way they constructed the UI. Whereas Meetro structures its chat program around finding people in a range around where you live, RadiusIM allows you to find other chatters within a range from wherever you center the Google map. This allows me to find people around the the Bay Area, or even fly over to New York and look at all the RadiusIM users in that area.

While this may seem to be yet another Google mashup, the way the UI blends Geogrphic and user information is seamless. When I hover over a location, RadiusIM populates the portraits of other users in the area and a simple mouse-over lets me see if they’re online. This is a huge advantage over Meetro, where I have to increase the range around my home address in order to get users from other states. This makes RadiusIM great for people traveling to or wanting to learn about another area of the country. This will also make the service killer when they expand globabally and people can easily make IMPals instead of Pen Pals.

On a final note, I think the alpha is a bit laggy and the name needs some reworking. It’s a very descriptive name as a URL, but doesn’t work well as a noun, like how most IM program user names are refered to. What’s your RadiusIM just doesn’t sound right.

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