It is very hard to imagine in this digital age for what new to expect from an already very competitive world of chat apps. A few technology giants have already almost perfected the world of chat apps and it’s very hard to imagine if something new can be expected, that too from a small startup. We had heard about this new chat app called ‘ZapBuddy’. This Melbourne/Islamabad based startup had gotten interesting reviews and so naturally we were excited to check it out for ourselves.
Our first impression was that it was a very interesting concept. It had succeeded to get our attention and decided to try it further. We tried the app out and it felt smooth and well thought out. Although it lacks the presence in android as well as video and audio calling, we can’t help but applaud the very first attempt the team has made. It does not feel like the very first attempt and that is a compliment in itself.
Coming to the features, this is the first app that is built completely around the world of augmented reality merging naturally in the world of chats. These two are very different domains yet they have somehow managed to make this merger look like it was supposed to be this way all along. The Augmented reality is the new feature that make you search for your friends in AR view through the camera to see where they exactly are. Adding more to this, the user can also look for points of interest such as ATM, Cafes etc. We felt this as a neat addition to the only element of friends in Augmented Reality.
“The Exception notification is a sight for sore eyes for people who keep on missing important messages”
The next issue that popped up immediately with this comes that of privacy. It is truly amazing how the team has addressed the hotly debated topic of user privacy integrated well into the core functionality of the app. The user can not only control their locations, but also display pictures for different users and can share only individual locations to individual user to avoid the hassle of everyone looking where they are; that too in Augmented Reality.
The app, if already it was not enough at this point for new features, has given more features for us to explore known as Lock Screen. A simple but an interesting idea where the user can lock their chat app screen so they can share the phone with anyone without them going through your private messages. We tried this feature and it feels well executed. The user has the option to recover the password at their private email in case they forget the password. Beyond that, we tried to kill and restart the app but it simply does not let one bypass without knowing the password. This is a feature that we feel would be interesting to have.
The next feature is the one that had not been covered before, yet we felt was very interesting to our team. The method of exceptional notifications. At first it felt the already available feature in almost every app of custom notifications but it has a very unique and a key difference. The exceptions lets the users bypass overall settings so they can be notified of message from someone important even if the chat settings are on silent. We can’t emphasize enough on how much trouble we have gotten into as we mostly keep chats into silent, and thus miss important messages from groups we wish we had looked into earlier. This is truly a sight for sore eyes and we hope the team is able to implement it in overall OS as well. If they do so, this is going to be the only chat app we use from hereon.
So the verdict so far, ZapBuddy has truly been successful in proving us wrong in not expecting more from the world of Chat Apps. The team has more things in store; as we are told and we honestly cant wait to see what they are. This small relatively unknown startup working from their garage has definitely proved they can surprise us. We just hope they have the android version soon enough along with audio and video chats. This we feel just might be the next underdog success story we are witnessing right now.