There’s been a lot of buzz about the new Friendfeed beta about the web, and I’d like to contribute my little bit about it.
Firstly, it’s in “real-time”. You can see things that come in as they come in as opposed to whenever you go to Friendfeed. This is a double-edged sword, as I noticed right away. I was trying to watch a Youtube video somebody had shared, and I noticed it moving down the page as people posted more new content on top of it. Slightly frustrating, but I managed to open that FF comment in another tab and just let the firehose stream on. The disadvantage to “letting the firehose stream on” is that you can miss things, as I did. The advantage to the firehose is that you can see who’s commenting and liking you “stuff” whether it’s an article you dugg, a Youtube video you created and shared, a Tumblr post, or a blog post. It’s a great way to get quick feedback on a post (assuming people read it right away).
Friendfeed’s also redesigned their page to focus on the content, not where it’s coming from. This is an important development; it allows you to see new content without necessarily caring where it comes from. Personally, I liked having the different icons show up so I could follow people with interesting content from that service (digg, etc).
Secondly, they’ve set groups as feeds you can follow, as opposed to a “group” that you join. Basically, they setup a feed of the group posts and it feeds all into that group.
Thirdly, there’s a “pause” button. This comes in handy when you’re trying to read something on your page and it gets too fast for you to follow. I hope they incorporate a key you can use to stop the firehose.
I’ve noticed people saying that Friendfeed is “becoming like Twitter”. I’d say no, they aren’t. Friendfeed is better than Twitter. With this new “real-time” implementation, I think Twitter has to watch their back. I like the fact that you can share anything manually and automatically (through RSS feeds) to the service.
I think the new Friendfeed is all about simplicity. It has virtually no down-time (like Twitter seems to have) and is better organised. Also, it seems people aren’t using it to spam as much as Twitter is, but that’s a blog post for another time…