Column: New design reminds web users of the need for an aggregator of social-networking sites.
The problem with social networking these days is that there is just too much of it. You can tweet on Twitter, post photos on Flickr, gossip on Facebook, or rant on your blog. It’s no joke that you could spend all day moving back and forth between these options.
That’s where FriendFeed comes in. FriendFeed is a social-networking aggregator – a one-stop shop for reading all the posts from your friends, family members, coworkers, former high school flames, etc. You can pull in content from more than 60 different services and websites.
FriendFeed has just renovated the site, making it a much more attractive destination for those who want to do all their social-media “shopping” in one place.
The first thing you’ll notice about the new FriendFeed is how much it looks like Twitter. Then again, Facebook’s recent redesign made it look a lot more like Twitter, too. I believe that all social networking will one day look and feel the same – the winners and losers will be decided by the special features that are unique to each site.
In the new FriendFeed, the left bar that held site navigation functions is gone, and has been replaced with a snappier version on the right side. The account, log out, and additional links are gone, too.
The result is much more pleasing to the eye. This FriendFeed looks more like a streamlined sports car than the dependable, four-door family sedan. And it proves that a keep-it-simple design can take a lot more time and engineering to get right, compared with a flashy or busy website.
The key new feature: real-time streaming of content. You no longer need to reload the page to get the latest on your friends. New info just pops up.
FriendFeed’s founders (all former members of the team that designed Google and Gmail) have said that they want to create a Gmail-like experience where people can send messages back and forth to each other quickly. This is both good and bad. Not having to hit the refresh button, like you do on Twitter, is nice. But if you’re a social-media maven with hundreds or even thousands of online friends, it’s like watching the numbers roll up on America’s debt clock. Things zoom by so quickly that you can get dizzy.