Any lonely souls looking for love at an Internet cafe with Meetro's help might be let down, because the pool of nearby Meetro beta users is slim even in San Francisco, one of the most wired cities in the world. Each time we signed into Meetro beta, the other visible users were mostly men, with only a few nearby in downtown San Francisco, and most located some 20 miles away in Silicon Valley. Upon close inspection, we noticed that hundreds of Random users were scattered around the Americas, hundreds and even thousands of miles away, in Wisconsin, Mexico, and elsewhere.
Meetro beta provides online FAQs and a video tutorial, as well as a feedback link to give the company a piece of your mind. The help-yourself resources aren't as rich as with other big IM brands, but then again you may not need much help because Meetro beta's features are basic.
On the downside, we received error messages more than several times when trying to access basic functions, such as changing our location and peeking at other users' profiles. Meetro is in beta testing and not yet a final product, so glitches are to be expected. Like most other consumer IM tools, Meetro lacks encryption, which the multiclient Trillian provides--and which you might want to have in a tool that pinpoints your location, albeit roughly. Meetro allows you to send files back and forth to your buddies; this could be convenient, save for the risky fact that it lacks malware scanning, which Windows Live Messenger offers for its drag-and-drop file sharing. And if you're looking for multimedia bells and whistles, such as video chat and VoIP plans, you should look to Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger, which now allow their contacts to text message each other.
We give Meetro credit for its unique concept, but its potential for helping you discover other users remains limited. This could change if more people used Meetro. We wish Meetro beta could show us where our contacts from our third-party IM accounts were located, so we could tap into those trusted human networks; it's too hard to get your contacts to migrate to a new IM client. And Meetro beta's introduction process might work better if it integrated tagging so that you could view people's subjects of interest. Another helpful feature would be the ability to view users' blogs; Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL are already up to that task. Also unlike Meetro, you can hear what music other users are streaming on the Last.fm social networking radio, and Yahoo Messenger lets you snoop on your buddies' Yahoo Music picks. All in all, however, Meetro beta is useful if you want a basic IM tool with an added novelty or one that lets you talk to friends who use other messaging brands.