Everything you need to know about Chime.in

chimein-featuredAnother social networking site is throwing it’s ring into the hat, and this one’s scoring some unusual hype. The folks from UberMedia (the team responsible for all those Twitter-based platforms) have long been rumored to be launching a Twitter competitor, and now it’s here… except it’s a Facebook-Digg-Twitter-etc competitor. It’s scoring a lot of press, and Chime.in is trying to tackle our social media context (or lack thereof) problem. But will it be able to streamline information and hold its own again formidable rivals? 

How it’s the same

It’s your standard social site with a centered stream (cleverly called the Chimeline) that you can view with filters including time, things you’ve liked, things that people or brands you follow have shared, or comments.

And as it goes with these things, Chime.in is trying to be many things at once: It’s like Twitter meets Digg, with an attempt at producing a community that rivals Facebook and also weaving in elements of Quora. 

How it’s different

It all works a little differently though. Because it’s not about you: It’s about what you’re interested in. “You can follow a part of a person or whole person,” UberMedia’s Bill Gross says. Basically it doesn’t filter by people alone, it filters by what people say.

Context has become increasingly difficult to find on our social networks, the more robust they become. And by putting subjects instead of people first, Chime.in is trying to add a little relevancy to the Web. “Social networking is now a part of our lives–it’s everywhere–but it’s easy to get lost int he oceans of information it creates,” UberMedia COO Jon Kraft explains. “Chime.in allows you to connect with others around the things you’re interested in.” He always tells us it does this by “surfacing the ‘good stuff,'” and selects the information you want and pulls it to you. 

And if that isn’t enough for you, how about the fact that Chime.in will pay its users? It’s not quite that simple, but Chime.in is taking a different approach to Internet advertising. Users will see half of the revenue from an ad that appears on their Chime.in page–or, if you’re responsible for selling that ad space, you get all of the profit from it. On Facebook, your page might be littered with ads, but Facebook gets all of this. Chime.in is essentially giving you more ownership over your profile than its competitors do. 

Problems ahead

The first major issue we foresee in Chime.in’s near future is marketing overload. Upon launch, the site announced it’s partnering with E!, Universal, Bravo TV, and Disney. Now combine these advertising heavyweights with Chime.in’s purpose to feed you content by interests and we could easily imagine the social network becoming little more than an endless way to spam you.

With major social networks like Facebook and Twitter (and yes, MySpace), people came first. Once the user base was there, then these platforms introduced brands and more commercial channels to lead to profits. But we’re wary of a site that’s catering to this type of activity right off the bat without first reeling in devoted users.

Another issue—although an arguably easier one to fix—is the UI. It all looks basically the same but lacks polish and isn’t as easy to navigate as it should be. If Chime.in is trying to make social networking more topical, it’s seriously hurting that mission statement by creating a UI that’s disorienting and hard to read.

chime.in ui

Can it survive?

Probably not. There are more than a few “Facebook alternatives” that have tried this route before. There’s Anybeat (formerly Altly), and the ill-fated Diaspora. And recently, in reaction to Twitter’s stepping on the toes of third party, integrated app platforms, the TwitPic team launched Heello. Of course there’s also Google+, which has fared better than many other attempters but has had some well-documented struggles.

It already seems the Chime.in is trying to do too much by roping in various popular aspects of its competitors. That said, Kraft did tell us the site isn’t sitting idle and will be releasing its ad revenue system, advanced community tools, a metrics dashboard for tracking your activity, and a developer API. The faster those plans are in motion, the better. 

What about this interests graph thing?

Who else is trying to segment social networking by user interests? Oh, just everyone. Facebook’s Subscribe feature and focus on lists were implemented to cut down on News Feed disambiguation and clutter. Twitter’s lists were meant to do that same. Google+ Circles worked to help you segment your friends, which you could use as interest groups.

These all segment by groups of people, but it seems like Chime.in is trying to create a problem in order to be the solution: Most of us have no problems grouping people by their interests and what they represent to us. Work, high school friends, family members, fellow Star Wars nerds, etc. We generally don’t think of socializing by subject, we think of it by people and what they mean to us.

It’s not a unique idea that the social web needs some organization—that your funnels of information could use more context. But we’re not sure Chime.in is the answer. 

Mobile

WhatsApp finally gives in to the lure of cash-generating ads

WhatsApp's co-founders always said their messaging app would never show ads, but once the pair quit the company, it seemed inevitable that its owner, Facebook, would find a way to incorporate them.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Computing

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Mobile

Shazam hooks up with Instagram Stories for another way to share songs

The latest update for Apple-owned Shazam lets iPhone users share music tracks to Instagram Stories in a few quick taps. To enable the feature, just make sure you have the latest version of Shazam loaded on your handset.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.