Banjo is an iPhone app that aggregates pretty much all of your social networks’ data in one place. And a new update has just added Instagram, making it pretty much the most comprehensive option yet. There is a problem, however: While the app itself is dead easy to set up, and even works with iOS 5’s own Twitter integration, it is a complete mess in use.
News of Banjo came to me by way of PR announcing that “Instagram for Android is fully integrated.” I thought this might make for a great Cult of Android post — after all, it took almost 18 months for iOS to get a third-party app that could post to Instagram. This turned out not to be the case, however, and You can only read, favorite and comment on your froends photos.
V2 of Banjo also adds this Insta-gration for iOS, so it still makes for a compelling place to view all updates from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Google Plus, as well as Instagram. There’s even a Path logo that pops up sometimes, but I can’t figure out how to actually add this.
From there. you can view updates as a timeline or on a map, and everything is mashed together into one long list. This is where the problems begin. The list is somewhat busy, and the Instagram photos are displayed as strips cut from the middle of the picture — not full-sized, and not even a thumbnail.
Also, clicking on a contact takes you only to the account displaying that update. Thus, if I spot a photo by the ridiculously handsome Wired.com photographer Jon Snyder in my timeline, clicking on that will take me to his Instagram feed. What it doesn’t do is take me to a “Jon Snyder page,” which would show me all of his updates across networks.
The app is a decent attempt to unify all of your networks in one place, and it works pretty well. But the busy viewing interface, the lack of real integration (unified contacts, Instagram photo posting) means you’ll still be in and out of your other apps to get most things done. Add to that the fact that different networks are used for different things, and read when you’re in different moods, and Banjo looks to be largely redundant.
Still, it’s free, and it did at least lead me to read this comment over at the Google Play store: “The app won’t Do anything until you sign in. Uninstalling.”
That’s right folks. This commenter is pissed that an app designed to browse social networks does nothing if you don’t sign in.
Pro: All your updates in one place. Free
Con: Messy. Doesn’t replace standalone apps.