In a world full of social/dating services, Yangutu throws their hat in the ring while offering an internet based client and an iPhone app for socializing on-the-go. According to Yangutu, the service is a way to “meet new people, make friends, chat, flirt, socialize and play dating games.” In an effort to take the fun anywhere, all of these options have been added to the app.
Design and Function
The app uses tab-based bottom navigation to switch between “dashboard,” “people,” “signals,” and “chat.” However, none of these are listed in the iPhone screenshots on the App Store (see below). While the navigation is not the same as advertised, the individual tab layouts appear to be similar – dashboard and people being most used. The dashboard keeps track of all profile information including profile visitors and even social gaming invitations. People searches for profiles of individuals nearby, and the search criterion can be changed for each search.
App Store / Actual Screen Shot
Trouble in Paradise
There were several aspects of the app that did not appear to work. The most important of which is the user sign-up option. The app would not allow me to register for an account from the start up menu. To create a user profile, I had to join from the web-based client on Safari. Only then could I gain access to the app by entering my credentials. Another frustrating malfunction is the page visitors section. I received a badge indicating someone had viewed my profile, but was unable to see who. Tapping the visitor section merely loaded a blank page.
When cycling between pages and tabs, the app was sluggish and slow to load. Sometimes an unformatted bulleted list of information would appear, then go blank, and then the final polished information would load. The app behaves as if it were a web-app, akin to the web-apps from early iOS days.
Most concernedly, is the app’s clear ability to determine my location without expressed permission. My profile lists my location as Savannah, Georgia (which I chose as a fake location for review purposes); however, when I look for people in the people tab, it suggests my actual city, which is in North Carolina.
After conferring with the dev team, it was pointed out that the app is gaining location information from the internet service provider, which is allowable in the iOS setup. The app is, in fact, not specifically using GPS location to pinpoint an actual location. However, even though it pinpoints my location, I cannot search for people in any other specific areas.
Conclusion [rating: 1/5]
Yangutu’s (free, App Store) mission is to sign up people looking to connect, socialize, and play games, but, even though given the option, you cannot even sign up from within the app. In addition, page visitors cannot be seen from the app nor can you search for people in a designated area.
As the app does not work as advertised, despite many (possibly fake or purchased) 5-star App Store reviews, I cannot give Yangutu more than 1 star. If the bugs are fixed and the location information is regulated, a more favorable rating may be given in the future.