The other day my iPhone oinked at me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. What the heck was it? Oh yes, it’s the new app from Milk Inc, Kevin Rose’s latest venture called “Oink”. I installed and registered it about a week ago and forgot about it like so many other apps I wind up downloading. But this app is not one you’d want to just forget about – as I’m starting to realize it would actually be difficult to ignore (not just because it oinks at you either).
What is Oink Anyway?
Oink is an iOS app for the iPhone, iPad or iPod. It allows you to either “Love”, “Like”, “Ho-Hum”, or “Dislike” anything, no matter where or what it is. Then you can share your feelings on Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare (for items that are tied to a particular location). If you think about it, this is quite a meta review because I’m reviewing an app that is made to rate and review other things — including, potentially, this review (mind-boggling isn’t it!).
My first impression might be a little jaded since you can’t just download the app, sign up and get started immediately. Technically it’s invite only — but the invite typically comes just hours after you request one. You can use an email address or sign up through Facebook or Twitter OAuth however I personally recommend using an email address if you ever find yourself without a Facebook account. Once you’re in, Oink will find your friends from different social networks you give it access to. You can also add more later from the profile menu by tapping Find and edit friends under settings. This is also where you can set your notifications settings, and the sounds it uses (i.e. the pig).
There’s also a sort of game aspect to the app. First you set your areas of expertise (what you want to be known best for) then you gain points in those areas by oinking, reviewing, or photographing items tagged in that area. This is called cred. You can choose up to 10 categories to gain points in, but only 8 can be areas of expertise. This is another point of confusion I ran into when first reviewing the app. I’m not sure what the difference is between tags you can earn points in and areas of expertise. Regardless, the more points you gain the more you can level up (11 being the highest). If you have a hard time figuring out what your areas of expertise would be, you can just tag things as you rate them, and once you’ve rated a few things under the same tag, you can add it later as one of your areas.
You can use it for more than just rating things too, it is also great for discovery. Tapping Discovery at the bottom of the app will show a list of popular categories with an option to see top items around you. You can search places, see global activity, and just search for things. This feature reminds me of one of my favorite services, Stumbleupon mixed with the Around Me or Yelp apps.
With the exception of the To-Do feature which confused me a bit as it didn’t every remind me about anything which is interesting because Oint 1.0.1 was just updated to handle To-Do’s somewhat better, fix a few bugs and add search enhancements.
In a world cluttered with social networks, millions of apps and review sites and products — Oink from Milk, Inc makes it fun and easy to share your opinions with a community on just about anything. The app is beautiful in design, works very well (no errors or weird mishaps from my experience thus far), and is quite snappy. I think it’s worth the wait in getting an invite and is a great central destination to discover things how others have rated a product or service you’re interested in. Being a data aggregator, Oink is a free app which is available via the Apple App Store.