Social media aggregator Cliqset today announced a new beta version of its platform that aggregates activity feeds from 70 different social media sites, transforms them into normalized Activity Streams standard data and then pushes them out in real time.
The company's offers multiple ways to access the data through its API but also hopes that more users will stick with its own, now much improved, user interface. The first 200 ReadWriteWeb readers to click this link will gain access to the new beta version of the site.
What does Cliqset offer that the Facebook-acquired FriendFeed doesn't? According to Cliqset: "We're much more standards compliant, we allow broader sharing, granular filters, a different permissions model, a much more open API and we have more services tied to ours (70 vs. FriendFeed's 50)."
The most important thing Cliqset is doing is probably transforming all these different update feeds into the standardized format called Activity Streams. That format is already being supported by Facebook, MySpace, Windows Live and Opera.
Michael Calore explains what Cliqset is doing with Activity Streams as follows:
A huge bonus is that Cliqset is using the emerging Activity Streams data specification to make all this happen. Activity Streams is an open-source XML-based format that uses a common actor-verb-asset model to report an activity on a social website. For example, "Amy shared a video" or "Mike rated this photo." It's a simple organizing principle that allows social web services to more easily talk to each other about what their users are doing.
But if not everyone is reporting their users' activity data using a common model, it becomes harder to get two services to talk to each other. And only a handful of sites are supporting Activity Streams right now.
As Cliqset co-founder Darren Bounds tells Webmonkey, Cliqset is actually re-writing all the aggregated data streams into the Activity Streams format, physically cleaning up the social web's mess as it goes.
Cliqset tells us that it's working on making a streaming API for this data available and let us in on some secret projects to bring real-time cross-platform data flowing to places around the web that it's not available today.
Right now you cannot easily pull Activity Streams feeds through Cliqset for people who have not signed up for the service themselves. It would be great if Cliqset began consuming the Webfinger protocol, for example and let me point at all my Google Contacts, discover their social media sites from around the web and then transform those into Activity Streams for consumption in other apps. That future isn't here and it may never be, but a web user can hope.
For now the company is using the long polling method and this newly normalized data to do some impressive things with its own user interface. Michael Calore goes into depth about that part of the project on Wired.com's WebMonkey blog. We'd like to recommend his post as our Real-Time Web Article of the Day, in fact. Check it out for a closer look at the innovative effort underway at Cliqset.
We're highlighting one article about the real-time web from off-site every day, leading up to the October 15th ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit. Data normalization, Activity Streams, filtering and APIs are going to be big topics of conversation there. We hope you'll join us for those conversations.