more about Meetro "The Social Messenger"
Meetro caters to Windows and Mac users...
I installed verson 0.99.1997 beta on my Windows PC and version 0.54 beta on my Mac. My first impression was that it's very slick, the windows version has a modern GUI, the Mac version is quite different, it's still nice and has some funky little differences but after an hour or so these became more apparent, it actually reminded me of Yahoo! Messenger and just how vastly different their Windows and Mac versions are... to be fair to Yahoo! though, with the release of their latest Mac version the gap is much less than in previous versions... back back to Meetro....
Your Meetro Profile...
What I found cool about Meetro is that it allows you to create quite an extensive profile which is great for sharing a little about yourself and finding out about others, to set up your profile, login to Meetro and from the top menu select Actions > Edit My Profile. You can display your Name, age, gender, orientation, languages, a little about yourself, check boxes for if you're looking for Friends, Activity Partners or Dating, you can enter your Tagline, favourite websites and also favourite music, books, movies and places.. at this point I'd worked out that despite it being a general messenger it was attracting those seeking a relationship and after a few nights online I'm sure that's the target market it had found because initially it was awfully hard to locate people who just wanted to hang out and not know everything right down to your shoe size.
Now for some reason your tagline is important, I guess it's like a general greeting which is kinda cool but what I found particularly strange was that in the Mac version if you click on a users display picture you get a drop down summary of their profile and if you don't have a tagline setup it states "I have no taglines! Please message me and bug me about it!" and surprising enough people do! I was quick to put in a tagline to stop this happening and it did work, random people will still contact you but at least what they say is a little more predicable. My only problem now is that my profile refuses to stay put, when I log off Meetro it consumes all my profile fields apart from First and Nick name, gender, websites and location... everything else is wiped, not a feature I'm sure and everyone else I spoke too had no trouble retaining theirs so I guess it's a quirk just for me.
While checking out my own profile and those of others I noticed another cool feature available to the Mac users... is the Apple logo displays over the profile / display picture of other Mac users, this works with not only people you've added to your Friends list but also all people listed under the Group displays of Within a Mile, Within 5 Miles, Other locals and Random People.
Location, location, location...
I had a really great time chatting to users sitting under the default group of "Random People", it was nice meeting people from all locations far and wide, for sure I can see the appeal of those under Within 1 Mile and Within 5 Miles if you're looking for something a little closer to home, in many respects, it's just that I personally am not in the dating scene nor do I particularly want to get together in real life to hang out. I have to admit I found the idea of displaying my location a little strange and the first few times I was approached by users Within 1 Mile if found it a little odd and slightly uncomfortable but it's something I have gotten use to and I'm well versed at declining invitations to discuss my physical address and should push come to shove Meetro does allow you to Block Users and if something gets really out of hand or you find someones display picture outside of the Meetro TOS you can contact.
The major "selling" feature, and I use that lightly because Meetro is free, in fact this nothing about Meetro that requires money, is your location and of course the ability to see and know the location of other Meetro users. Setting up your location is easy, you can do this when you register at Meetro or after you've installed. If you're a little uncomfortable about displaying your location Meetro has addressed this in one of their FAQs, but it doesn't exactly pacify the comfort levels...
FAQ: I don't want people to know where I am. How can I prevent this from happening?
Answer: First of all, keep in mind that no one on Meetro ever knows exactly
where you are. Users only know that you are within a certain radius of
some miles (or kilometers). If the radius drops below 1/4 mile (or 400
meters), it is revealed only that you are within 1/4 mile (or 400
meters). The security and secrecy of your exact location is always
400 meters a little close for most if not envasive of peoples comfort levels, personally I'd opt on the side of caution when it comes to revealing specifics. You can easily access your location to the left hand quick menu of your main Meetro window, select Location and you're presented with fields for Country, Street Address, City and Postcode.
You are not able to just select a Country which is rather restrictive and something I think should be available, but at the moment it appears Meetro has decided a City or Postcode is compulsory and as such a required field, unlike Street Address, which IMHO, should not be completed even though Meetro states that it will not be shared... glitches happen so I'd suggest you don't tempt fate. A few seconds after submitting your location you are then presented with a list of City matches to select from, out of the possible matches identify and click on the city you reside in and your location is all ready to go.
Your Near list is then sorted into location groupings, or rather distance. My Windows versions groups as Really Close (up to .25km) and Random Users (30km and above), on my Mac is Within 1 Mile, Within 5 Miles, Other Locals and Random People. To find out a more accurate distance of a user just hover your mouse over the users displayed.
there is one available for Meetro, it's called a Status Badge and getting one is dead simply, just enter your Meetro screenname and select from either Email / Web or MySpace formats, hit the button and the code is automatically generated for you...
Across the Networks...
The ties between Meetro, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger are quite strong but I'm not sure it's in the right way, more on that a little later on. It seems you can login to Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, MSN, ICQ, Jabber and GoogleTalk which basically covers all the bases.. unfortunately I'm not able to login to most... my attempts to connect my one of my Yahoo!, MSN,and GoogleTalk ID's all failed... no error messages, no nothing, they are all just stuck on connecting... ICQ did manage to connect, but file transfer (to ICQ Pro and ICQ 5.1) didn't work. not completely surprising as I can't get file transfer to work Meetro user to Meetro user either and as I'm unable to locate any documention regarding ports etc I'm stuck.
The whole connection experience is frustrating but Meetro is still in beta so it is to be expected at times. What was, and is, strange though is that the smileys don't change from the default selection to the client you are using. e.g. as the ICQ smileys are installed with Meetro I expected to see the ICQ smileys when using my ICQ number via Meetro but I didn't, the Meetro defaults remain. Another quirk is that I initally signed into to Meetro with my main ICQ ID, it worked perfectly and my buddies list loaded, I then decided to the delete that account and use my lesser one, problem being that my friends list for my first ID was still available and it didn't clear until I restarted Meetro.
As I mentioned above, when you install Meetro, you also install all a range of smileys to C:\Program Files\Meetro\images\emoticons in fact you install the default smileys for AIM, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo! Messenger with each residing in their individual folders.
The inclusion of the smileys used on the other networks is surprising, and strangely enough I found it very confusing.
To add to my confusion the default 100 smileys on the drop down menu for Meetro are in fact a mix of the Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger smileys.
I think I'm like most who use the default combinations to generate the smileys I use most often, by that I mean using...
:) ;) :p :D
instead of relying on the drop down menu that's provided, not just in Meetro but across all the IM's I use. So when I thumped out my usual combinations from Meetro to another Meetro user I was once more surprised to see...
which are all © Yahoo! Messenger. I'm not sure how the key combinations line up across the networks, eg AIM, MSN and Yahoo! but should I ever be able to connect to them via Meetro I'll certainly give it a shot :)
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