Friendfeed just boxed itself into a corner
Yesterday, Friendfeed went from THIS:
and in doing so, made a huge impact on its future, nay survival, if you follow Techcrunchâ€™s thinking. And I have to agree. As sad as it is to see something so innovative die, in aligning their interface to Twitter, the latest changes have made Friendfeed neither one thing nor the other â€“ and that canâ€™t be a good thing.
Friendfeed for those that donâ€™t know is actually a pretty clever tool which allows you to track what all of your friends are doing on social networks â€“ radar for social networks if you like and allows you to comment on your friendsâ€™ social networking activities which get posted to Friendfeed. You can â€œlikeâ€, comment or repost in Friendfeed and link those actions to Facebook/Twitter and the like. More recently, it created â€œreal-timeâ€ functionality which allows Friendfeed users to see a live stream of their friendâ€™s activities
If that hasn’t confused you, then let me put it more simplyâ€¦look at the recent changes in Facebook. Notice the â€œlikeâ€ and â€œcommentâ€ links below your friendsâ€™ status updates? The idea for that came from Friendfeedâ€¦which leads me nicely to why the new design poses such a problem for Friendfeed.
The speed of the new live-feed aside, as I have alluded to above, Friendfeedâ€™s new interface is much more complicated than Twitter, yet not as clever or feature-rich as Facebook. This means it now sits somewhere in between being too complicated for Twitter users (who, from recent traffic figures seem to love the simple interface!) and not clever enough for Facebook (although you might rightly argue that Facebook is a destination site designed for content storage rather than aggregation), but nevertheless, it doesnâ€™t meet the needs of either audiences particularly well.
Lest we forget Jaiku, which for some time was considered the â€œbetterâ€ micro-blogging tool, yet which never really took off. It did the same thing as Twitter, had more features (it even had groups!) but never gained anything like the traction of Twitter. Pontificate you may, but it has to be to the overcomplicating of services that puts people off.
Friendfeed has long been the choice of the uber early-adopter, but I donâ€™t see how this new look can help itâ€™s cause.