Edit: The new Facebook for iPhone application no does friend syncing, you can check out the features in my new Facebook sync contacts post.
I just saw a new download for an application on the iTunes app store that caught my eye and decided to spend £1 to see what it was like… that application was called FriendSync and it offers you a way of Sync your friends pictures into your phonebook contacts.
None of my friends have thier picture in my iPhone because i hate them, no not really, basically i just couldn’t be bothered to take a picture of them all and put it into the phone. I assumed that this application would make it super easy for me to do and i was kinda right.
The application has a tendency to crash, infact i haven’t been able to use it once without it crashing. Also the application seems to have a rather large problem with actually matching up your contact list with your friends on Facebook. I am sure that this is due to the fact that i don’t always use the First name > Last name convention of putting people in my contacts. It seems to me that even if the person isn’t an exact match then i should be given the option of ‘closest’ matches to choose from.
Instead of that option i have to click through each person, and then type there name into the search bar, find them in the application results and then assign the picture. The other thing that is bugging me is i am sure the results aren’t in alphabetical order and some people ‘hide’ below the qwerty keyboard making it hard to select them.
It’s not all doom and gloom though because this application does still make it a LOT easier to assign pictures to people, it just needs some tweaks.
The thing that impressed me the most though was how Facebook handle application asking for your details to ‘login’. They cleverly ask you to login through the application browser (thus no info is sent to the application) and then a key is generated. This key is then put into the application which allows it to access certain things such as friends list etc. This means that no one can get access to your username and password.
The more i use anything to do with Facebook the more i am impressed with the fact that they have thought of just about everything when it comes to thrid parties and applications.
So in closing if you want to add photos to your contacts then this application is cool. It may only get a small percentage of the user’s pictures correct the first time but after you have added them all in it will remeber and update thier pictures when they update them on Facebook.
The developer of FriendSync contacted me a couple of days after writing this post asking for my feedback in finding some issues. I have been in contact with him since that time and i can assure everyone that he is working hard on fixing the issues and has sent an update to Apple, the fixes/features include…
- Fixed: Crashes due to a large number of contacts and/or Facebook friends.
- Fixed: Blank images assigned to contacts.
- Faster Syncing. Thumbnail images are now downloaded on-the-fly and cached, resulting in faster syncing.
- Faster Manual Matching. Default search results are displayed based on a contact’s name when manually searching for a Facebook friend.
MobileMe and Exchange users who sync their contacts. After FriendSync sets a contact’s image, MobileMe and Exchange revert the image to the original state. We have a support ticket open with Apple regarding this issue and will provide an update when it’s resolved.
The developer has also agreed to answer some question about developing on the iPhone which i will put on the blog in around a week or so. I think once these changes get approved then this application could really take off.
You can find more info on the FriendSync Home Page