MySpace launched its instant messenger clone in beta a few months back and now it appears to be ready for prime time. I installed it and have a few thoughts on the product.
Setup is easy, just download and install the application.
However, adding friends is a big pain. The app doesn’t autopopulate your friends list, and there’s no feature to let you add all of them at once. Rather, clicking “Add Your Friends to IM” brings up your Friends, 20 per page, sorted (as usual) by date the person joined MySpace. (The way your FL is sorted, BTW, is one of my top pet peeves of the site, because it makes it really difficult to find people if you have large numbers of friends. Why can’t they institute alphabetical sorting already?) Since you can’t see all your friends on one page, you have to go page by page and click “add everyone on this page to IM” which, if you have 321 friends like I do, is a big pain in the ass. I had to do this 18 times.
The second obvious flaw is that the application does not integrate with MySpace’s pre-existing IM feature. I’d expect that my Friends who are on MySpace currently would display within the IM application as “online now”. But this isn’t the case. Rather, in order to chat with your MySpace friends through the application, they need to install and configure it. So the IM is basically useless if your friends haven’t bothered to do so. As a result, the only one of my “friends” online is “Tom”.
- Smooth interface without too much extraneous advertising; less intrusive than MSN or AIM (I use Trillian and Google Talk).
- Makes it very easy to access various MySpace features
- Plus, gives MySpace persistent desktop real estate.
- Easy application installation
What doesn’t work
- Setting up friends is a big pain
- Should integrate with pre-existing MySpace IM/PM features
Overall: A great deal of room for improvement. I won’t be using this until enough of my friends install it for it to become compelling. MySpace should also realize that their early adopters on these types of technologies will likely be power users who have tons of friends, and adjust the UI accordingly.