Having been away for 2 weeks, I have come back and noticed a major improvement to friendfeed – the tool I use to bring together all the information my connected network shares with me. It is extremely useful as not only does it give me access to the types of information that I want quickly, it also generates debate around that topic.
One of the major problems with the service though was that if I shared a news story and another 10 others shared it then it would appear 11 times in your news feed – needless to say that made finding unique stories more difficult. Unsurprisingly given the title of this post (!) friendfeed have fixed this and now groups all the same stories and its related comments together.
Of course, I can always see room for improvement 😉 I would now like to see the comments grouped together somehow so that they dont get lost in the grouped items below (see screenshot below to see what it is like now) – I can see why this might be difficult to do as you couldn’t group them by time – the only real answer is to have multiple threads of comments with maybe the most liked comments showing up.
In any case it remains one of my prime sources of information today – more on those later.
Friendfeed and socialthing are both lifestream aggregators. They pull in your information stored across multiple services on the internet into one place. You can then use those aggregators not just for your information but also to follow the lifestreams of others.
Louis Gray believes that friendfeed should win because of one key feature – its ability to build a community or network by allowing users to comment on items posted inside friendfeed.
Muhammad Saleem believes that SocialThing’s ability to allow users to comment outside socialthing inside the external service is the better solution.
I have not yet seen SocialThing (it is in private beta) – but it strikes me that SocialThing’s methodology is the way to do things provided you can still see the conversation inside socialthing.
Of course, Duncan Riley of Techcrunch thought that Friendfeed is just another lifestream aggregator (compared to Plaxo Pulse, Tumblr, Spokeo, Second Brain, SocialThing and Iminta) and that why would you even want to republish Twitter and Google Reader shared items. Can’t you just go to their sites?
I think right now they are all much of a muchness in comparison with each other. Friendfeed does have the ability to connect to 30 other services online and a huge following, SocialThing has a lot less services and even less of a following. I completely disagree with Duncan on the lack of need to republish.
My view is that these lifestream aggregators have huge potential for consumer benefit online. It could become the platform for web services, allowing users to choose their favourite photo/video/blog/whatever provider whilst not forcing their friends to sign up or worse visit lots of different sites to see them all. Duncan makes a valid point though about Twitter, its very nature means it takes up a huge portion of the overall feed. What I would like to see is the ability to separate items into different areas so I can follow people’s Twitters in one area, photos in another and blog posts/interesting items somewhere else. ie customizability of the lifestream.
I have been a reader of Louis Gray’s blog and his Google Reader shared items for a while now and I think he is straying into the territory that Scoble used to drift into when he was at Microsoft. Namely, tunnel vision on one topic. Lous’ shared items is one huge mass of Friendfeed coverage, whilst his blog has been mentioning it in a majority of recent posts. It is starting to get a tad boring.. you like friendfeed I get it! What I don’t understand is why cover them so much? Is there some connection between Louis and friendfeed? Is this just a way of giving Louis Gray some attention? Or is it just a great service that incites this sort of coverage?
Some thoughts on Friendfeed coming up shortly..