Blinc is a new iOS app from Lines of Cocoa. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and does not carry any additional in-app purchases. It’s currently featured in the “New” section of the App Store’s Social Networking category.
Blinc is a simple social photo-sharing app with a clear purpose: to allow friends to share images with one another and immediately share their “reactions” upon viewing the image. In this sense, it is riffing on the popular YouTube trend of posting “reaction videos” to bizarre, amusing or disgusting content on the Internet, and making it into a more social experience between friends.
Signing up for Blinc requires providing an email address and password — an account cannot be created using Twitter or Facebook, but after the account has been created the user is prompted to link to either or both of these services. The app makes use of iOS 6’s built-in Facebook support to connect to Facebook without leaving the app, but for some reason eschews iOS 5+’s Twitter support, requiring the user to manually sign in to pair a Twitter account with the app. There also seems to be a bug with the interface at this point, preventing the user from pressing the “Close” button to proceed past this social pairing page — fortunately, quitting and restarting the app bypasses this problem, but it doesn’t set the best first impression.
Once into Blinc proper, the user is presented with their feed, which is initially empty. From here, users may take a picture and then send it to the friends they would like to view it. The image is then sent to the friends in question in a scrambled format, and it’s not until they specifically choose to view it that its details reveal themselves. The image is revealed for just three seconds, at which point the app takes a photograph of the viewer’s reaction and sends it straight back to the original sender. In this way, pictorial conversations between friends can go back and forth between posted images and “reaction shots.”
Just one problem: actually getting friends into the app is a somewhat cumbersome process not helped by the fact there doesn’t appear to be any sort of “invite” function anywhere in the rather sparse menus. Instead, the app is reliant on users signing up and pairing their accounts with the app manually, then finding each other manually. This is an unnecessary difficult process that could be completely eliminated by simply either including an “invite” function in the app itself, or by allowing the app to send requests and/or tweets to friends who are not already active users. This also has the side-effect of providing natural viral promotion for the app — as it stands, it is reliant on word-of-mouth and users convincing their friends to manually download and sign up for the service rather than simply following a link. While this is a simple process, many modern mobile and social users will not take a chance on a new service if signing up is any more complicated than accepting an invite.
Blinc is a nice idea somewhat akin to what Snapchat has been doing with some success recently. Unfortunately, the app — core to the experience — lets the whole thing down somewhat. As such, Blinc cannot really be recommended at this time, but with a few refinements and added features, it has the potential to be a fun, if largely pointless, means of picture-based social interaction between peers.
You can follow Blinc’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.