FriendFeed, one of our favorite lifestreaming applications, launched the beta version of its new user interface today. The new version adds features that allow for organizing friends into different groups, which makes FriendFeed a lot easier to manage, especially for those who follow a large number of people. Also, you can now easily share photos on FriendFeed directly and see the home feeds of other users, which makes finding new friends a lot easier as well.
The most important changes to the interface are connected with the new ability to group your friends into different lists. While most of the navigational elements of the regular version were on the top of the page, the new beta moves all of these elements to the right.
Adding friends to these lists is done through a nifty text interface that auto-completes names as you type them. Of course, if you can't remember the names, you can also add friends through the subscription sub-menu (see screenshot).
Overall, these lists are a very nice feature that will make using FriendFeed a lot easier in the future, as it will allow you to create specialized feeds with relatively little noise. This way, for example, you can group political bloggers into one list and tech bloggers into another, while updates from your close friends can go into yet another list.
Home Feeds and Comments With Date Stamp
One other nice new features is that you can now see the actual home feeds of other users. This is a great way of discovering new people to follow.
Another good addition to FriendFeed's feature set is that it now displays how long ago a comment was made when you hover your mouse over the little bubble next to every comment. Before, it was impossible to tell when a comment was made.
universal uploaders like Pixelpipe here, sometimes you might just want to send a picture to FriendFeed. This has been possible every since FriendFeed acquired mail2ff.com, but this new posting UI makes it quite a bit easier.Posting directly to FriendFeed has now become a bit easier and the old "Share Something" button has been replaced with a text box at the top of the page (though interestingly, as you search, this box turns into a search box, which is a bit confusing). One nice new feature is that you can now directly upload pictures to FriendFeed. While we really like
Still Some Unfinished Business
As much as we like the new interface for how it makes dealing with a lot of friends easier, there are still a few areas where FriendFeed could improve. In this new version, for example, the FriendFeed rooms you subscribe to are always visible, but searching for interesting rooms is still not possible.
FriendFeed also still has to figure out a way to deal with duplicate entries, as many users tend to share the same link over and over again, even though a discussion has already formed around the link somewhere else on the site.
Becoming the Default
As FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor told us, the plan is to make this beta interface the primary FriendFeed interface after gathering more feedback from users and tweaking it accordingly. We think that this new interface is a great step forward for FriendFeed and we would assume that most users will switch over to the new interface long before it becomes the default.