In The Online Twitter/FriendFeed Widget War, Only The Users Win

Perfect – Twhirl (from Seesmic) has decided to add in FriendFeed features, and Alert Thingy (Howard/Baines)has integrated Twitter. Two applciations, looking to be the best, are going to deliver the best possible value… to the user. There’s nothing like an arms race to drive innovation. One of them adds a feature, the other follows, and then adds another edge, which gets replicated and trumped, and so on. Love it!

So let’s wind back just a touch to what these bits of software are. They both look at two online web services, Twitter (the short message based group conversation) and FriendFeed – services which have a lot of information flow coming through them on a minute by minute basis. Both sites offer API hooks so that programmers can take the data, and present it in their own applications – which is exactly what has happened here.

Interestingly they are both powered by Adobe’s AIR, a system that allows web programming (HTML/AJAX, Flex, or Flash) to be run outside the Browser, as if they were desktop apps. Frankly Adobe must be loving the coverage and awareness this is giving AIR in the 2.0 community.

I’m intrigued that Twhirl, recently bought outright by Loic Le Meur’s Seesmic, has went ahead and added in FriendFeed, rather than the hooks to take Twhirl users back to the Seesmic website – given the increased use I’ve made of Twitter simply by switching from teh website to Twhirl I’d have expected Seesmic on Twhirl to happen very very quickly. Still if I have to bat eyelids at the Valley’s Pepe Le Pew to get the beta on that… mon ami, avec vous un cadeux pour moi? Failing that, some French Lessons?

And FriendFeed is just as interesting, essentially replicating the ‘River of Stuff My Friends Have Done’ that stays inside the walled garden of Facebook, and lifted it out into the open world of the web, letting everyone add in their favourite services so that FriendFeed will tell their friends what they’re up to. And that includes everything they post to Twitter.

But more importantly, both applications need a way to turn off Twitter! Let’s be honest., when Twhirl is hooked into just Twitter, it’s almost perfect. When I set up the second account to also take my FriendFeed river of news, then I get the Twtitter messages again! Duplication that not only is annoying, but because of the flow of new ‘posts’ in Twitter compared to other services, FriendFeed (at least for me) is swamped by Twitter. Rather than show me the money, I feel like screaming out a Pesci-esque show me the filter!

The first of these clients to give me an ‘ignore Twitter in FriendFeed’ gets pole position on my desktop. And maybe on yours as well.

PS: Looks like Erick over at TechCrunch agrees.

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