Unthink.com, the latest in a long line of Social Networking services, wants to be the Facebook killer or at least a viable alternative if you value your privacy.

Getting any hard detail on the service is actually very difficult beyond a few crazy video adverts, which I slot into the same area as an Ikea advert -- a little bit of crazy!

I blogged a few days ago on the failed beta launch but I have now been able to login and use the system and what follows is my first impressions on it.

I'm trying not to be too judgemental as this service is in beta (this tag being used by everyone as an excuse for 'everything might fail' or 'come join the party but it's a bumpy ride'). Even Apple are at it with Siri!

Assuming the Unthink servers respond and you do get to sign up with your invitation code you are presented with a very busy screen (shown below compressed just to demonstrate the layout)

In essence it's all about your data and security -- you have amazing control over how much you show to different groups of people. It is a little daunting and people are not used to giving it so much thought but Unthink have made all the default options restricted so you need to open up your data rather that it all be open to start with.

You are expected to create four profiles:

  • Basic profile contains highly personal details (email, date of birth, location, etc). This is never shown to anyone but helps people find you during a search.
  • Social for friends and family
  • Professional to represent yourself in a working environment
  • Lifestyle which helps identify your likes/dislikes to brands (I assume to sell advertising) but no personal information is shown to them

You then have four boxes you can post status updates in -- one for each profile. For example, if you post an update in the Social Stream it can only be viewed by your Followers who are in that stream.

It took me a few minutes to work out how to invite people, and the default option is to ask for your email login details to suck all your friends details from your address book in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. No thanks! There is a tab to type individual emails so I will use that for now. What does seem strange is when I invite someone it doesn't seem to automatically add them to my friends list; I have to then go searching and add them later.

I was surprised there is no online help so you are left to stumble around on the page. The Help tab only presents two ridiculous promotional videos. I wanted someone to explain the terminology they throw around on the page (I think they call it your Stage but the word Suite appears too so I'm not clear on that one yet).

There's a couple of boxes on the screen which have no explanation at the moment -- one being a Lifestyle tree; just an image of a tree nothing else. The iBelieve, iEndorse and Lifestyle are unknowns too.

Generally the site is very slow and the box design is daunting and jumpy! As a page is loading some of the boxes are compressed but after content arrives they increase in depth causing everything on the page to jump down. Not easy on the eye!

It's VERY early days for the service. I have been plugging away at Google+ for a few months and I am enjoying the experience, even if it has been hard work, but with Unthink I feel it has a much bigger hill to climb.

Overall the concept is great but the design is difficult and clumsy. I wish them well in their endeavours and look forward to refinement.

site by DAJ