It looks like our move into the browser is by now inescapable, as more and more applications are moving to the web. For me, a major milestone was reached about a month ago, when I moved my work e-mail account to Google Apps, where it now lives together with the rest of my e-mail accounts. Of all my desktop apps that see heavy daily use, the next in the list to be migrated is my Twitter client. Let’s take a quick look at three alternatives:
Seesmic Web is the latest product from Loic le Meur and his team. The brand Seesmic was originally a video sharing app, often described as “Twitter for video”. Loic, however, was very quick to realize where things were going in this space, and acquired a popular desktop Twitter client called Twhirl. Twhirl, in its turn, was morphed in Seesmic Desktop, a more robust desktop app, also based on Adobe Air. So, as it stands today, all three Seesmic products still exist, but the clear focus today is on the desktop and web Twitter clients.
The web app itself closely resembles the desktop client, and those familiar with desktop apps like Seesmic or Tweetdeck will quickly feel at home. The interface is very responsive, and its familiar multi-column layout is immensely flexible. If you’ve ever used Seesmic for the desktop or Tweetdeck, this one is for you. Seesmic Web now features live link previews (from bit.ly), and is available in a number of languages, being the only client available in a number of languages. The major missing feature is lack of support for multiple accounts – this is the one feature that is missing from the web version that stops me from migrating full time.
I am referring to Seesmic as a Twitter client because we are describing here the web version. The desktop app, however, already boasts a number of Facebook integration features, and is quickly heading towards being a “Social Media client”, or whatever name someone will come up with for this sort of application. Even though it is natural to assume the web version will head that way, so far it is not there yet, working only as a regular Twitter client. I should also point out that I am a regular Seesmic user, and have in fact contributed to its translation to Brazilian Portuguese.
Cotweet is a tool aimed for corporate use, but even so it is a nice way for a single person to manage multiple accounts. Its focal use case is for many people managing a single Twitter account, and for that Cotweet brings the concept of being “On duty” for a certain account. Whoever is on duty is notified of any messages the account receives, and messages can be assigned to other people for them to respond to. You can also assign messages for other people to respond to.
Cotweet has a very nice user interface, showing details about users and bit.ly links on the right sidebar. When attempting to use this as an individual though, it becomes clear that Cotweet is not meant for this. We use it regularly at work for two accounts we handle and it works great, but for my own accounts, I’d stick with something else.
Brizzly is still in closed beta, but it does look really promising, with a clean, uncluttered interface that has a lot of carefully considered functionality. Brizzly is fully geared toward the individual user. It is very easy to create groups, direct messages are shown in a convenient box to th eright of the main message stream, links are shown expanded (something that we are seeing in a lot of places now) and images are shown inline with your tweets.
Brizzly also has some new friendly features, such as a box displaying current trending topics on Twitter and short texts explaining why those items are currently trending. Overall, Brizzly is very clean and friendly, and should appeal to a lot of people.
Overall, I’d go with Seesmic for a well rounded offer with a familiar interface – but for that to happen, it needs to catch up to the desktop app in some areas, in particular multiple account management. Brizzly is an extremely strong contender, with a very nice interface and a fresh take on how to manage multiple accounts, avoiding the “default”multi-column layout.
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