Spout app provides a pulsating flow of social networking

Mar 13, 2011
Tech

Available universally for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, app Spout takes the content from your Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader feeds and streams the content to your device without you doing a thing. Although it’s nice to sit back and keep up with your social networking and news with little work, Spout’s animation — the […]

Available universally for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, app Spout takes the content from your Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader feeds and streams the content to your device without you doing a thing. Although it’s nice to sit back and keep up with your social networking and news with little work, Spout’s animation — the feature that differentiate the app from other passive readers — might be a bit much for tired eyes.

The words in posts zoom across the screen, stacking up to form the tweet or Facebook message. Every post loads differently, so there’s no room for boredom, but that also makes for a bit of difficulty in determining who has posted and from which site the item is pulled. I saw items from Facebook and Twitter, but nothing from Google Reader, which was strange. At times, names didn’t appear with posts, and I didn’t love the extra tapping required to access a posted link.

On Spout’s plus side, it does offer plenty of customization: You can choose themes, select how fast you want the words to animate, and set a minimum display time, from as little as five seconds per post to as long as five minutes. You can also select how you want the posts to refresh — either randomly, in a cycle or with the latest items. Spout only works in landscape mode, and that means you can’t easily use the service when your device is docked.

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As much interest as Spout’s animation brings, I think most users will take issue with its speed and pulsation — the words are constantly moving, even when the post is in a holding pattern, and I see that inducing a headache. Spout would do well to offer a stationary option in its control panel to widen its appeal.

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