FriendFeed more often than I go anywhere else. It's great to be able to see all my friends' activities across multiple networks in one place. More than just an RSS aggregator, FriendFeed is a sophisticated platform for viewing and discussing aggregated online social activity through a contact-centric lens.These days when I've got a hunger for some data I go to
While the service itself has always been exciting, the launch of the FriendFeed API was particularly noteworthy. Now we're starting to see some of the first uses of that API. The best we've seen so far is clearly the new Firefox "companion" MySocial 24X7.
First reported on by TechCrunch yesterday, MySocial 24X7 was built on the new Google App Engine platform. It's a model of good usability and the kinks that need to be worked out are relatively small. Here's a look at some of the things you might love about this little app.
It's "Outside" The Browser
Activity streams are best dabbled in casually; given semi-continuous partial attention. By putting all your friends' activities outside of the various tabs on a browser, this app keeps the conversation available even as you go about your day. It's similar to the way that AIR Twitter clients display Twitter conversations.
Twitter tends to be very avatar focused, so sidebar displays of Twitter feeds alone are too small to render well. FriendFeed uses avatars to designate media types, trusting that it's a friend who's publishing that media. This works great in the sidebar.
The full display and most of the functionality of the original app are available here as well - which is more than can be said for the much better named competitor AlertThingy. To AlertThingy's credit, its Growl notifications are far more useful than MySocial's. Users should also be able to turn these notifications off. If there's anything that's going to lose users for this app, that's it. Notifications should be descriptive and under user control.
A comparison can also be made with the Flock social sidebar. By relying on individual logins to various services, Flock gets over eager and makes its window pop-up and log-in at inappropriate times. MySocial24X7 puts this part of Flock to shame because the FriendFeed API is a far more elegant solution than trying to aggregate a wide variety of services individually.
That said, MySocial does seem to be having a hard time autoupdating right now.
We're liable to see many more services simply leverage the FriendFeed API to organize their users' data, because FriendFeed has already done so much of the work.
Sharing Button is Hot
Remember how Facebook grabs images from any URL that you type into a note? MySocial does the same thing when you click on the share button but lets you click on images on the page to select them. The share button produces a simple but attractive inlayed popup in the corner of your browser. You can share up to three images at once.
Right now it insists on linking any text you "share" to the URL your browser is on at the time, so you can't just post to FriendFeed without sending a link from MySocial. This is clearly an error that presumably will be fixed soon.
Navigation is Smart
MySocial checks for updates every few minutes and the default behavior is to scroll down your list of items. You can also click on page-forward and back buttons though to scan through updates quickly. I like that a lot.
Image enlargement at hover-over is pretty smooth, it's easy to comment and "like" items from inside the sidebar.
You're not able to deselect some media types, view items from friends of friends that your friends interact with or edit any preferences in MySocial - but for a just out of the gate app it's a great way to take FriendFeed with you wherever you go around the web.