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App Review - Soon

I don't know about you, but I have a part of my brain that's almost entirely reserved for things that have recommended to me by friends, family and acquaintances. From films to TV shows to restaurants to underground boxing clubs, they all get filed away for later reference, which means that most of them get forgotten about after a while. It's not that I'm not interested, it's just that trying to keep track of it all will inevitably lead to things falling by the wayside, and then you have to have an awkward conversation with someone about that film they asked to watch like a year ago that you still haven't seen.

Well, now... Actually no, I'm not going to say it, you can fill in the blanks for yourself. 'Soon' enables you to keep all your recommendations listed, and purports to be able to help you manage them so that you never forget, or give up because you can't find the time. It has a database of thousands of films, books, artists, restaurants and other things so that you can easily access contextual information about whatever it is you've been told to go and check out.

Much like Goodreads, the app uses Facebook to keep a rolling list of your activities and those of your friends, so you can get an idea of what they're liking/not liking. As well as just adding things that you've been told to seek out, you can search the 'trending' list for things that a lot of people are listing. The Martian, for instance, is currently at the top. Once you've actually gotten round to reading, watching or visiting the thing in question, you can mark it as 'done' and specify whether or not you liked it. That's pretty much the extent of the app, but is it actually any good?

Fundamentally, yes. It's main function is to keep that otherwise hopelessly cluttered portion of your brain neat and tidy, and it succeeds at that job admirably. Everything is categorised, information is easy to access, it has a handsome, smooth interface and will periodically notify you about friend activity or remind you about things you've left for a while. The ability to find out opening times, how to get to places, movie showing times and where to order things online is especially useful. Sadly, it's not yet reached its full potential. It will have far more value once it becomes more widely used and develops as a social media platform like Goodreads has, allowing you to follow 'taste-makers' as well as friends.

The database also needs widening. In order to pull in a good crop of recommendations, I passed it around the office team. I got back a mixed bag of more well known fare (Breaking Bad, The Rum Diaries, Jaws, Amsterdam) and a few things a bit more left of field like the anime series Blue Gender and Wolf Brother, Michelle Paver's first novel in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. A few people did mention that they tried to find a few things but couldn't, restaurants in particular. There are also a few glaring oversights in terms of categories, especially video games. There are plans to widen the scope soon, but I would argue that games should have been in there from the outset, I get recommended games all the time, same goes for apps, and linking to the actual download pages for them through Soon would be extremely useful.

For all its limitations, there is certainly potential. if they make good on their promises to flesh out the catalogue and make it more social, it could become a really valuable app. As it stands, it's little more than a way to keep your thoughts tidy, a way to keep the title of something preserved in your memory without fear of it fading. It's worth keeping an eye on, but it's far from essential in its current state.

Overall, we give Soon a Songbird Rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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App Review - Soon Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, October 09, 2015 Rating: 5

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