Trover’s iPhone app’s treasures require use of Facebook

May 23, 2011
Tech

There are probably a lot of neat things to be found in an area near you, and app Trover, for iPhone and iPod Touch, is designed to help locals compile these treasures into one database. Users take a photo of something they find cool, and when you’re near the tagged location, you’ll see it, too. […]

There are probably a lot of neat things to be found in an area near you, and app Trover, for iPhone and iPod Touch, is designed to help locals compile these treasures into one database. Users take a photo of something they find cool, and when you’re near the tagged location, you’ll see it, too.

I was game to participate in the app until I found out that Trover requires a Facebook account. Yes, I said “requires”: There’s no option to create a dedicated Trover account or any other provided log-in method. Requiring Facebook is one of my biggest app pet peeves. Some people don’t use Facebook at all. Some people, like me, prefer to keep FB as private as FB can be. Trover chose to not consider these users. Even the option to sync Twitter instead of Facebook would’ve been a promising start, since those profiles are typically more public to begin with. You can see discoveries near you without logging in — and if Trover doesn’t have many users in your area, you won’t see much — but you won’t be able to post photos of your own or interact with existing discoveries.

For the sake of this review, I gave Trover access to my Facebook account and posted a photo from a nearby Chicago harbor. Posting was easy enough: Confirm the item’s location (one will be provided based on your photo’s geotag, but you can adjust it if your GPS is off), tag it with a provided neighborhood, add details, and share your find. The photo appeared in the feed (although it was deleted from my account on the first try because of some FB authorization issue) of images near my current location. Most of the photos near me were several months old, which indicates Trover isn’t being widely used in this market.

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Trover claims you can “discover remarkable places and things nearby,” but the photo of a random Chuck Taylors or a lady playing Jenga didn’t exactly satisfy my want for discovery. No, the Trover app isn’t to blame for these photos, but the caliber of the submissions did make me question Trover’s real purpose.

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