Like many apps in the social-networking field, PhotoSwap aims to help you make connections with the outside world. But in this case, at least, some of those connections can be frustratingly fleeting.
The concept behind PhotoSwap is simple enough: Take a picture and hit send. (Because we’re talking mobile photos here, developer Padadaz only supports iPhones with this app.) After you send a photo, you’re sent one that someone else has taken. You can reply directly to that person if you want by tapping reply, taking another photo, and sending it to them. An odd way to communicate? Perhaps. But it’s surprisingly fun and addictive.
PhotoSwap provides instant access to random pictures from random people. That said, it’s unfortunate that you cannot save contacts or jump back to old conversations. Say that you’re swapping photos with another user when you accidentally send out a random picture instead of a reply. That’s the end of your old conversation, and there’s no way to get it back. It happened to me several times while testing PhotoSwap, and it got pretty annoying.
Another annoyance is how easy it can be to inadvertently tap the Report button, a command Padadaz includes so that you can complain to a moderator about any dirty or offensive picture you’ve received. Get reported, and your account is locked until the picture in question is reviewed. You’re unblocked if you were wrongly accused, but that’s of little consolation if you’ve been momentarily banned because of an accidental tap. (And if you have been naughty? You’re permanently blocked.)
These complaints aside, PhotoSwap is a fun—and free—way to get a glimpse into the life of a stranger.
PhotoSwap is compatible with any iPhone running the iPhone 2.x software update.
[Chester Baker is a technology and radio control car enthusiast from central Oklahoma.]