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| August 20, 2011
IM+ Supports Two More Instant Messaging Services, Gets Into The Augmented Reality Scene, And More
SHAPE Services continues to add new features and fine tune their instant messaging products and platform. Both IM+ and IM+Pro support two more instant messaging services, gain the geeky feel of augmented reality searching, and improve upon existing features. The United States has Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL, Facebook, and a number of other companies that offer well-known instant messaging services. However, that's not to say other regions of the world don't have social-networking systems with tons of users. SHAPE recognizes this fact and has added support for two popular Russian instant messaging services, VKontakte and Yandex IM, to the IM+ apps. And speaking of international user acknowledgement, Portuguese and Dutch join the list of natively supported languages. Augmented reality on the iPhone was once just a concept tinkered with by developers, and not even allowed by Apple's SDK policies initially, but is now becoming a pretty common feature for travel, lifestyle, and social-networking apps as a secondary search option. Where has SHAPE implemented AR? They've added it as a traditional map replacement to be used on iDevices equipped with cameras for the Neighbors service. Like the augmented reality feature of some other iOS apps, IM+ displays the search results, nearby people, as floating icons, photo avatars, overlapped on a live video feed to give a perspective of distance and direction of their current location compared to your own. It does make sense to search and even navigate in such a way for close objects, although, AR still seems gimmicky to me. I feel it's neat and nice to have the option, but not a must-have feature. Further changes made in IM+ and IM+ Pro v5.3 include: • Messages can now be sent to offline Facebook contacts • Updated set of emoticons for all IM services • Option to set separate status message for Neighbors service • Multiple bugs causing crashes fixed • UI and overall performance improvements IM+ is a universal app compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later, and available in the App Store as a free download. IM+Pro is a universal app compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later, and available in the App Store for $5.99.