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After a few weeks of trying to determine the future of Bloo, I finally reached a decision. Before I get started let’s discuss the current the state of things.
Bloo One (let’s call it like this from now on) was released a year ago and it turned out to be a huge success for Android. You might be tired hearing it, but words cannot express my gratitude for your support and loyalty in my effort to provide you a better Facebook app for Android. It took me approximately 2 months to prepare the first version and I loved every second of it. I loved supporting it and replying to your emails, hearing you out and reading your comments. As it turned out, I joined Logitech and now work as an engineer for Logitech’s version of Google TV. Let’s not start talk about Google TV but I promise you we are putting all our efforts to create a fantastic product for you guys. Ever since I started working my time to develop and support Bloo One has been very limited and when you combine this with Facebook hiccups, things are just aren’t working out very well.
Since my last post I started thinking if I can just throw up the source code on git and let you guys have a shot. However, looking at the code Bloo One uses it did not seem suitable to go open. The code has worked very well but generally speaking it was my first shot for Android and I think I could do things much better. Its been approximately 2 years I’ve been working with Android and my skills with the platform are exponentially better. To put it simply if I had as much free time as I had back then and the skills I have now Bloo would be a superior app to what it is today.
So what’s the deal now? I have a good friend of mine who has already helped me with Bloo One in a few sections and we both decided that it is time to let the “reset” Bloo and start from scratch. Obviously, you are wondering what does this mean? Well, here’s the plan. We will be rebuilding Bloo (named as Bloo Too) and provide a basic version for you out there and then we will open source it. We want to invite the Android community to participate into the development of Bloo.
What’s in the first version? See below:
- Brand new engine utilizing the new Android Facebook SDK (Open Graph API)
- New login mechanism. You know you hated it in Bloo One. Now setting up Bloo takes one step to add ALL permissions and get started instantly. Ability to log out and login as different users.
- New engine for viewing Feeds/Streams for everything (Walls, pages, group walls, event walls and virtually everything the Open Graph allows you to view). Super fast.
- New Home screen, including (FINALLY) the ability to go instantly back to it without pressing back millions of times.
- Friends list, you know it, you loved it in Bloo One. Fast load, fast search.
- Notifications. Yes, they are here just as good (even better) than in Bloo One. Faster and much better battery consumption.
- New code, much faster, resusable, accessible and structured much better.
It does sound as good as you think, but, you might be wondering where the hell is the rest of the features? Where are my events, inbox and photos? They are all coming. Our intention is to release the first skeleton version of Bloo Too and open source it. We will be adding features quicker when we have you by our side. We both do not have the time to support everything but with you we can make this the best Facebook app on ANY platform. Here’s ideas for you guys that you always wanted and can now be achieved:
- Event RSVP (thanks to new Open Graph API)
- Chat (more on that below)
- Contacts sync
- @mentions for friends
Now, what’s happening to Bloo One? Well, there is a huge change in Facebook policy that might affect it. If Bloo One is deemed unusable with the new policy I am going to have to remove it from the market only for it to be reincarnated by Bloo Too.
As for Chat. There is a floating version of Bloo 1.5 with chat embedded in it. There were a few reasons it was not released. While it was tested, it still did not seem good enough to release it. Bloo One was becoming “fat” with tons of stuff going on, larger size and overall slow experience. I do have Chat project waiting to be plugged in to Bloo Too once the time comes for it.
If you are an artist and you like to participate in Bloo Too please start pumping icons and send them to me via email ( dnkoutso at gmail dot com ). We are looking for the following:
- Bloo Too logo icon (all sizes)
- Facebook icons for everything, events, inbox, feeds, walls, friends, anything you like.
Send them to me, I will go over them and contact you so you can participate for Bloo Too and make a great UI for our first version.
Finally, please understand that the future of such an attempt is always uncertain and it really depends on the community involved. As you know, people almost always prefer the official apps in any case. Who knows, perhaps a future update on the official Facebook app could literally prove that there is no such need for an app like Bloo Too. At this time, we are moving forward with this and the future of Bloo will be decided along the way.
Tired or excited?