"Meetro.com (beta sw): A free IM that's proximity-based"4.5 starson by snurchy
Pros: 100% Spyware & Adware free, compatible w/AOL, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo IM SW so you don't have to open up multiple applications
Cons: Still in development: SW compatibility for Macs (OS X), LINUX, mobile phones, PDAs, Sony PSP, Nintendo DS & iPod users
Summary: I discovered Meetro through a Craigslist post a few months ago. Always interested in testing a new tool, I found that Meetro lets you access the most popular IM accounts (Yahoo, ICQ, AOL & MSN) through one application. The convenience of using one IM program is more common these days, but Meetro easily lets you add your entire buddy list(s) from your other IM accounts onto their interface. I haven't seen this perk available through the any IM enterprise sw package that I’ve bought and/or used in the past. (Of course, enterprise IM sw avoids vulnerability by not operating through public networks but that's a separate story...) In addition, Meetro is spyware and adware free--a bonus that's always welcomed when uploading a new application to any computer system.
My favorite feature is Meetro’s proximity-based locator that allows you see online users and their vicinity to your perch. This reminds me a bit of tribe.net where you can socially network with people who have similar interests--the difference is that Meetro is offers real-time interaction. By managing your user profile, you can post a picture or ID, URL’s/blogs, personal topics of interest, and of course any network intentions (e.g., dating, friends, activity partners, hard-core Warcraft Guilds, etc.).
Currently, I find the networking and community building dynamic on Meetro since most users are concentrated around Chicago with a growing number of people sprinkled around Europe and Asia. As Meetro continues to develop, they are addressing international standards to accommodate the different regions and languages. In fact, a new Meetro acquaintance from Europe and I met this week to discuss how to further market Meetro—pro bono, of course!
The founders of Meetro share an enthusiasm about their product reminiscent of the "think outside the box" late '80's era we know so well. Meetro has started getting some buzz this summer (through a rumor about getting bought out). But since that was just a rumor and the product is, still in beta, in a true DIY spirit, Meetro asks each of us if we're an “evolutionary agent” willing to discover and share this gem.
I know I’m be easily pleased by some applications, but I really like where Meetro is coming from: the developers acknowledge that their sw can raise networking to a new level but it’s success is dependent on “three pillars of strength”: 1) Meetro, the application; 2) the users (like you and me connecting through time and space); and 3) worldwide locales to find others via the network anytime, anyplace. Without all three components, Meetro might be overlooked while mega sw firms release their updated IM w/VOIP packages. But the quality and intention developed through the connections created and sustained through Meetro and other community-based internet networks defines success in my book. Check it out and spread the word. Enjoy!
BTW, system requirements for Meetro are: MS Windows 2000, XP or higher and 5mb of free space.