Whisper review

Whisper is an iPhone app from WhisperText LLC. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.

Whisper is a social networking service that relies on images and anonymity to create connections and conversations. Before users can dig into the service, they are asked to set a username and PIN. Avoiding a traditional sign-in system allows for people to limit their personal connection with Whisper. Real names, emails, and importing of contacts go unused in Whisper and even display names do not stand out as prominently as they do on most social networking services. This level of anonymity is the core focus of Whisper and it helps make the service stand out from others.

In terms of content, Whisper is all about images and text. When a user posts content to the service, they are given the choice to take a new picture, upload one from their device, or search for one on Whisper, which features an extensive image library. Once they select their image, users can apply a filter, add custom text, and upload it to the servers. From there, the new whisper is placed among the thousands of others. Finding specifically-themed whispers can be difficult, as there’s no search function, but there are a variety of sorting methods, including recent, popular, and nearby whispers. The idea behind the service is to get people sharing their secrets in a public forum. This emphasis on secrets works well because of the difficulty in tracking previous posts.

When a user is looking at a secret, they are given a small amount of information about the poster. Public display includes the user’s display name, location (if the feature is on) and when it was posted. Users also have a few options to interact with whispers. First, they are able to press a “like” button, which helps with the popularity sorting. Users are also encouraged to reply to whispers with whispers of their own. Creating a reply works the same as making a normal whisper, except replies can be easily accessed by checking out the original whisper. Users are also given the option to send direct messages to others, if they have that option available. Finally, users can share whispers on a variety of social networks, regardless of the whisper’s creator.

Direct messaging is one of the easiest ways to connect with other users and Whisper encourages the use of the service. Messaging is also Whisper’s sole form of monetization. New users will be greeted to a message from Whisper introducing direct messaging. Whisper explains that messaging is a premium service, but all users are given one free conversation to start off. Users who want to converse more can pay $0.99 for a single conversation, or can subscribe to one, three, or six months of messaging for $5.99, $11.99, and $16.99, respectively. The value of messaging depends on how active the use is with Whisper, but many users avoid direct messaging by conversing via public replies, somewhat hurting the premium nature of messaging.

Overall, Whisper is a unique service that does its job well. The level of anonymity is strong, but users still have their own sense of personality. The biggest issue right now is the inability to find whispers that may be relevant to specific users. Without the ability to tag and sort by category, it can be difficult to sort through the masses. Despite this, users can still have some fun sharing their secrets with the world and connecting with other users.

You can follow Whisper’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.