Free applications can be great. There's more than a handful of free apps over at the Marketplace with some being a hidden gem, some being "so-so" and others that make you glad they are free. Citizen Alerts by Carmelo Milian is one of those free apps that got my curiosity up and I was interested to see what category it fell into.
Citizen Alerts gives you the ability to take pictures and upload them, anonymously, to Citizens-Alerts.com. You can add descriptions to the photograph to help explain why you are alerting the world to whatever you are photographing. Along with uploading photos to the Citizen Alert website, you can also upload the photos to Facebook or to your Photowiz Blog.
You can review alerts posted by others from the mobile application and filter them by State. Citizen Alerts had photos that ranged from traffic conditions to tracking the Gulf oil spill.
The application was very buggy. I was unable to navigate around the alert postings nor pull up the information on the individual posts. The filter feature seemed to send the app into a confirmation loop where an "ok" button continuously re-appeared. The camera function worked but at times the shutter would activate on its own.
In looking at the online component, most of the photos used are stock images with very few original photos. The buggy mobile app may be the reason participation is low.
Citizen Alerts is an interesting application that could be helpful in determining where traffic jams are occurring, what the weather is like on the beach or what the line at the theater is like. As is, you're better off using a mobile Facebook or Twitter app to alert friends of events/occurrences.
Unfortunately, the glitches and bugs within the application takes away from any usefulness it may have and sends it into the "I'm glad it was free" category.