Streamy, which calls itself a "real-time news reading and sharing site," opened its doors today after an 18-month long private beta. Streamy is a mix between an RSS reader, a social media aggregator, and a real-time search engine. You can connect your Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Friendfeed, and Flickr accounts to Streamy, and post status updates from Streamy directly to these services. Streamy will also recommend interesting stories to you, and, thanks to its innovative user interface, sharing stories with your friends on the supported social media services is extremely easy.
Two of the most popular Twitter clients, Tweetdeck and Twhirl, released new versions of their desktop tools in the last couple of days that include support for a growing number of social networks. Streamy, in many ways, is similar to these two desktop apps, and, in some respects, it is actually more powerful. While Tweetdeck, for example, restricts you to ten columns, Streamy has no such restriction.
Streamy as a Social Media Aggregator
You can use Streamy as a self-contained system to read your feeds, follow other users, share posts with your followers, and even chat with them, but the service really works best once you connect it to other social media services. Starting next week, Streamy will also implement Facebook Connect for signing in to the service, so your Facebook and Streamy friends will be automatically synchronized.
When you open up Streamy, you are greeted with a homepage that can aggregate updates from your friends on various social media services, as well as a list of recommended stories.
Currently, Streamy lets you import your Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Flickr, and FriendFeed accounts, and from within Streamy, you can easily update your status on Twitter, FriendFeed, and Facebook. For Twitter, by the way, Streamy is one of the first services that feature authentication through oAuth.
Streamy's Twitter, Flickr, and Friendfeed pages are highly customizable. You can, for example, add widgets for specific searches, users, or your direct messages and replies to your Twitter account. The Friendfeed and Flickr pages only feature search widgets. Overall, these features feel a lot like what you can do in Tweetdeck, though the only problem is that the search widgets don't seem to auto-update.
But Streamy isn't just a social media aggregator; it is also a very capable RSS reader. If you are a Google Reader or Bloglines user, you will be able to import your subscriptions, or you can import an OPML file from any other feed reader.
From within Streamy, you can just drag a link and a circular user interface pops up. To send a link to Friendfeed, for example, you just have to drop the link onto the Friendfeed icon.
two years ago, the service looked very different, though the core of the service, as well as the innovative drop-zone interface and the highly responsive AJAX interface still remain. Streamy also still features a very interesting chat function (including group chat), which used to be at the core of the original service, but has now been pushed towards the sidelines in favor of a stronger focus on social media aggregation.When we looked at Streamy's first beta almost
One cool feature of Streamy is that you can drag and drop almost everything. This means, for example, that you can drag a shortcut to your favorite blogs to Streamy's title bar at the top of the page.
A Few Things We Would Like to See
Of course, Streamy isn't perfect. It is currently not possible to reply to tweets directly from Streamy, for example, which is definitely a problem, especially considering that you can comment on FriendFeed items directly from Streamy. On the other hand, though, Streamy won't let you 'like' a FriendFeed item. Streamy's co-founder Don Mosites, however, tells us that these features are in the works and should become available soon.
One feature we would also really love to see in Streamy's RSS reader would be the ability to get a river-of-news-style view for folders. Once you subscribe to more than twenty blogs or so, going from one blog to the next to see what's new just becomes tiresome. Again, Don tells us that this is just a matter of flipping a switch, and we hope Streamy will do so soon. For now, you can just drag and drop your folders to the title bar and Streamy will open a river-of-news-style view for you when you click on the icon there.
Once Streamy adds those features we mention above, it can easily become a great alternative to Google Reader and Tweetdeck. It's already one of the most fully-featured social media aggregators we have seen. We highly enjoyed testing the service over the last few days and we highly recommend that you give it a try as well.