Location-based social networking apps for the iPhone are on the App Store aplenty, and in many ways, Clingle is not that much different from the others out there. However, it is a very well-designed app that has had a promising start, and that makes it worth your attention.
First things first: Clingle is currently only available for locations in India, Singapore and New York City in the USA, so it’s not going to be very useful to you if you reside anywhere outside those places. But if you happen to live in an area it services, read on.
Like its high-profile competitors Foursquare and Gowalla, Clingle lets you check-in from various locations as you go about your daily life and share your activities with your friends on social networks. It also has some gaming elements in the form of points that you score and badges you can earn.
Where it differs from the aforementioned services, however, is that it has several utility features that allow you to use it as more than just an entertainment app. For starters, you do not need to physically be at a location in order to interact with it within the app, thus allowing you to make use of its features at your own convenience.
You can leave a tip or anecdote about a location in the form of text, photos, audio or (soon) video and tag your friends so they know what you have to say about it. You can travel with your friends somewhere and create a group travelogue with your combined memories and experiences at that location stored on Clingle for later reminiscing.
Clingle can also be used as a remote reminders app, with the ability to set a reminder for yourself or one of your pals for when they get to a location. You can also set up surprises for them to “unlock” when they reach a location, kind of like a 21st century version of the old treasure hunt game you played during summer camps in school.
Unlike most other crowd-sourcing and social networking apps, Clingle bundles a database of places to get you started. The database itself is sparse and is missing a ton of locations even within the small number of areas it caters to, but at least it’s a start. Over time, of course, it will become more comprehensive as Clingle users add locations to the app.
Clingle is well-designed, offers some compelling and unique features and is free, but it has a very small target audience right now. It is currently only available for the iPhone, but once it spreads to Android, BlackBerry and Nokia’s Ovi platform and to USA, the UK and the rest of the world, as the developers of the app say it will, it should start to gain more momentum.
If you are a resident of India, New York or Singapore and happen to be an iPhone user, go ahead and given Clingle a try. Maybe you’ll find a feature you can cling to.