Today at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, a company called Nomee is revealing a new software application for the purpose of aggregating all your social networking sites into a single desktop experience. In a way, this software is somewhat reminiscent of the web-based PeopleBrowsr in the sense that it's attempting to pool all your networks and identities into one single window. However, unlike PeopleBrowsr, Nomee is not just aggregation software - it also functions as a social identity management tool, letting you control which identities are shared with which people. That makes Nomee more like a next-gen social address book than anything else.

Tracking Social Updates with Nomee

The way that Nomee's CEO Kevin Mokarow describes his new Adobe AIR application is that it lets you follow "people, not web sites." This is accomplished through the creation and exchange of "Nomee cards." In your card, you enter in your contact information and your social networking profiles from sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and hundreds more - anything with an RSS feed is supported. By creating Nomee cards for select groups, you can specify who gets to see what information. For example, if you want to share your card by posting it to your blog, you may want to include your Twitter, FriendFeed, and MySpace information, but not your Facebook profile. For your close friends, however, you could share a separate Nomee card which contains your Facebook profile info, too.

Nomee also provides pre-built cards for certain high-profile persons including celebrities, sports players, and the occasional politician (yes, it's Barack Obama). Anyone can subscribe to these cards just as anyone can subscribe to yours - and you don't have to reciprocate by accepting their card in return. It's entirely a one way experience.

Within the Nomee application the cards can be organized into groups and clicking on any user's information will display the number of updates per service in a very iPhone-esque fashion. You can also view a stream of that person's most recent updates across all their networks.

Some Issues

Obviously, keeping track of all your friends and colleagues in Nomee could be very inefficient since you have to click on users one-by-one to see their respective streams. The only other option for seeing friends' updates is turning on the desktop alerts - a feature you'll either love or hate. If you only have a few contacts, it may be nice to get the occasional pop-up, but most of us would be overrun with alerts.

The company intended this application to be a way to stay tuned into what your friends and other contacts are up to, but outside of those pop-ups, its interface makes this relatively time-consuming and inefficient. However, in playing with the application ourselves, we saw the potential for it to become a social address book. Of course, transforming the app from a stream-based aggregator to an address book would require some additional work on the company's part.

Still, the idea is intriguing - an address book that's filled not only with traditional contact info, but also with the status updates and other social data produced by that contact across the social networking arena. That could actually be a useful desktop application. Add a mobile sync feature and there could really be something there.

In order for this to come to pass, though, Nomee would have to add a lot more features. For example, it would have to allow you to build contacts on your own and it should let you accept vCards from others which you could then customize by entering in things like their Twitter username, etc. Supporting a standard like vCard is important because you can't assume that everyone is going to be creating these "Nomee cards."

At the moment, Nomee is somewhere in between web-based aggregation portals like FriendFeed (or, these days, Facebook's stream) and desktop-based AIR apps like TweetDeck's Twitter-tracking tool. The company needs to decide how committed they are to being an aggregation tool versus a social contact organizer. If it's the former, the current iteration somewhat fails for anyone with a decent amount of contacts to follow because it's just inefficient to track updates with this app. But if it's the latter, after some work Nomee could become a useful way to pull up contact information while also seeing a person's latest social activity.

We suppose that, to a point, you can use Nomee in this way right now. However, you're restricted to those who already have Nomee cards - which includes very few "real" people at the moment. (All you have are celebrity "news makers.") And without real people to follow, there isn't much you can do with a social application.