It's Olympic time everybody and therefore it is time to get glued to any screen around that can provide you with up-to-the-minute updates on the action at hand. Enter the Join In app, a thorough guide for the London 2012 games.
Considering the sheer size and scope of any Olympiad, it's not surprising that the Join In app is a heavily detailed entity. While it provides an impressive amount of information and features, it does take a little time to get used to - this is not to say, however, that the app is confusing, there is just a lot to it.
At its core, Join In works to serve those who are either attending the event, or following it closely from home. It features a day-by-day breakdown of events, be it sports related, cultural, or entertainment-based. Users can browse all of these in a single category, or filter them to best represent their interests.
When I selected one of the Archery competitions that occurred today, it took me to a page that featured time and date information, directions to the venue, photo and video galleries, as well as news items relating to the event. The user is also able to upload their photos of the competition to this page.
Through this part of the app, an individual can ‘Favourite' these Olympic events, so that he can keep track of only the things that interest him, within the My Games section of Join In.
In the Places section, someone attending the games can view maps to help provide direction to different venues. These maps also show off where such places as food vendors, washrooms and information booths are. This function can also be filtered so that only desired items appear on the map.
The Buzz area offers direct links to Olympic photos and the London 2012 YouTube channel, as well as the games' direct Twitter feed and Facebook page. Meanwhile, the Guide section is a general information area that provides insights on anything from tickets, to ceremonies, to the games itself. The latter appears to be more catered toward those actually in attendance.
Now, while Join In can certainly earn a spot on the podium, it isn't without its flaws. Some of the pages don't always load up in a speedy manner, or at all. While this didn't occur too terribly often, this issue did turn up enough to mention it. There also isn't a dedicated section to athletes. For instance, I performed a search for Michael Phelps expecting some type of athlete profile to appear, but one didn't come.
Additionally, there isn't a help page here. This might be nitpicking, but there were points during my trip around Join In where an information page would've helped.
The best tip Join In provided was to encourage users outside of the UK not to use this app unless they have a Wi-Fi connection: "If your mobile phone account is not based in the UK and you are using 3G services to use the app, be mindful of roaming charges from your own network operator."
I know I had this app running (accidentally) without Wi-Fi for a few minutes, so it should be interesting to see if I'm penalized for this. If I am, maybe I'll have to boycott the next Olympics...maybe.
Nevertheless, if you're obsessed with the Olympics, Join In will keep you in the games as deeply as you want to be. The app is available, for free, for iOS- and Android-based devices.
Go Canada Go, Eh!