Let's start by saying that this is not a real social network, but LINE is an application that integrates free messages like Whatsapp, free calls like Viber, and a facebook style timeline. The only thing to do is install the application on smartphones, whatever its operating system, and desktop client on PC or Mac. And the game is done.
LINE is a very popular application in Japan, which has recently set foot in Europe and talking a lot about it. Why? For the simple reason that LINE is a free application with many features already in other popular applications and used here in Italy and the rest of the world, but it encloses everything in one and only "icon". So let's start by looking at how the app is structured and then trying to figure out what are the strengths and weaknesses of LINE. Once downloaded and installed by the App Store, we will only have to start it to have the first main screen, that is to register at the service. We will have to enter our phone number, our mail, a password and a nickname. Accepting the terms of service here is the real heart of the application. There are 4 main tabs below: Friends, Chats, Timeline and More.
The application uses the data saved in its phone book to create connections to its 'Real' contacts network because they are actually met or present in the phone book. LINE creators are convinced that the primary difference between LINE and Facebook resides in the quality of the Social Graph (the model used to connect people you know). LINE, in fact, uses connections between users who are part of a Real Social Graph, real social connections with people who know the phone number or have met at least once, while Facebook is entirely built On a 'Virtual Social Graph' - a weaker network than the 'Real' and narrower LINE connections. Here is the reason for a success that is slowly coming to us with Europeans as well
Then go to the Chats tab, which will give us a chat list with our friends. Instead, we analyze the screen that occurs during a chat. In this case, we also have the classic clouds, a gray for the message received with the attached sticker of the contact we are writing to, and the other green for the message shipped. We will also have the ability to send internal application hymns, stickers (you can see some of them in the image above), and emoticons. If you do not like it, you can always use the iOS default. Also in the chat screen at the top right there is a down arrow, which if clicked, will open a drop down menu with the following options: free call, add a friend to the chat, miss the notifications for this chat, block Contact, change the name and chat settings, where we can change the background wallpaper and export the chat via mail or use other apps like Goodreader or iFiles.
From the drop down menu we started a contact call, under wifi network, and the quality was pretty good, we sometimes notice several slowdowns that lead to not understanding whole sentences. We made the call under 3G network and the result was pretty bad. For sure Viber is much more powerful both under 3G network and wifi. To end the chat conversation, notifications are good for both chat and phone off.
Here's one of the most interesting features of LINE: The Timeline. Do not expect that tangle of messy links, sponsored pages, and other similar cobwebs. Here we will only have photos or photos published by us or our friends in the phonebook without having the opportunity to share them. As mentioned earlier, a somewhat more intimate and private timeline. How can such a project like? Who knows, first you need to see how many of your contacts are downloading LINE but above all how much the timeline is used. At the moment I have about 10 contacts who use LINE, but the timeline is composed only of my photos or states that I wrote. And that's not a good sign.
Let's go to the last tab, the More. Here, without going too long, we will have the general application settings, we will be able to invite our friends via sms, our home and then two icons of two NAVER apps that will send us to the App Store so, If we want, we can download them for free on LINE.
One of the great advantages of LINE is that it can be installed on all smartphones, whatever it is its operating system: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and Blackberry makes no difference. Another interesting feature is the ability to have the desktop client for Mac and Windows so you can continue a conversation from our iPhone to our PC through the (almost) automatic chat synchronization. As with Apple's iMessage. Unfortunately, however, the desktop client does not have all the features just described, but will only have the Chat tab available.