A Lifestreaming Push Client is the Killer App

Let’s just say that when I first signed up for Twitter, I was less than impressed. Besides the cool SMS nature of the service, which I wasn’t using, it just seemed like a very limited group IM web platform to me. It didn’t seem like a very useful service to me either, since I basically had to visit my profile page and refresh the web browser to get updates.

Because Twitter provides a very robust API, there has been a recent slew of of client applications written to take advantage of the site as a platform. Fast forward to a few months ago when reader Tommaso told me about a Twitter client called Twhirl. There have been several Twitter clients written using the new Adobe Air application platform. I have tried a couple but really feel that Twhirl is the leader among them. Since discovering this program I have become an avid user of Twitter. In fact I think I’ve started to use it a bit too much and think it has now surpassed the amount of time I spend in Google Reader.

So over the weekend I had an epiphany that the same limitations that kept me from using Twitter in the beginning (the need to visit a web page or refresh my browser) was also the same issue impeding the ability for me to follow my friends Lifestreams. Sure there’s always having the stream published as an RSS feed, but that just isn’t very sexy.

I was even able to find an Adobe Air RSS Feed reader called Fresh and tested it by importing my FriendFeed RSS feed. The results just weren’t what I was looking for. So I decided to to take matters into my own hand in the form of a hypothetical application. I created a visual mashup to represent what it would look like if I could get my FriendFeed updates using a client like Twhirl.

I bring to you LifeWhirl v.0.1

LifeWhirl v0.1

Yea…that’s what I’m talking about! And this should not be a very difficult application to produce. I really think that the first service to give me such a client will own me as a user. Not to mention diminish any level of productivity I currently am able to achieve ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s see if we see something like this soon.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Interesting idea. Out of interest, how do you think that Jaiku measures up against this? I think the Nokia client pushes feeds items shared through Jaiku out in this way. Could be something Jaiku/Google could explore further?

  2. Like lifestreaming profiles, I’m not sure is usefull to merge our content with our bits of activities. I spend time to research better way…

    – Two stream, two feed
    and/or
    – Two stream, one feed with activities daily-digest

    NB: perhaps I will introduce third stream on LiFE-Line for our “status & localisation report” (from Facebook, Yahoo! Live, and Messenger). Need more API from third parties Web services.

  3. Cool idea. I use Twitterific for Twitter and almost never visit the site. I can see how a similar app would be beneficial in a lifestreaming context.

    You should run it past someone like Icon Factory (makers of Twitterific) and see if it’s something they could produce (obviously I’ll expect some kind of handling fee here ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  4. I have to think that pulling a Jaiku feed into an AIR application (formatted to look all pretty) would do what you have pictured above.

  5. hey, sometihng similar exists for windows –

    http://www.8hands.com/

    and i bet their are at least a few others out there or in the works.
    need something cross-compatible done in AIR or based on PRISM etc.
    not sure of any others. did you search around yet?

    sull.outputs.it

  6. Hey Mark,

    I’m totally on the same page. We should talk.

    -b

  7. @Sull & @Pascal
    I’m familiar with and use 8hands but it doesn’t provide the updates in the client the way I have them shown. It also doesn’t seem to support update notifications on some of the services I’ve setup such as Twitter. That said it’s the only application I know that even comes close to this.

    @Pascal…yea, I meant “push” from the client application to me the user. There are however a few services that are coming out that do support what you mention.

  8. i’ve never used 8hands since it is windows only. So i dont know how well it performs and what usability issues may exist. But my interpretation of the core proposition here is on push technology. The UI and User Experience can always be conceptualized in different ways. So i cannot speak to that. But regarding push technology, their is a fairly new shift in focus on it so maybe we should shed some light on it here.

    Here is what 8hands sais:
    “Real time notifications. Forget all those tabs and refresh buttons. 8hands lets you know exactly what is happening on all of your social networks in real time!”

    It could be marketing, but it sounds like they are using push technology and not polling every x minutes. 8hands website is all about marketing the product and i cannot find anything technical that explains how it really works.

    With that said, here is an interesting javascript related programming language that is capable of pushing content to the client in real-time:

    http://www.flapjax-lang.org/

    It came out last year but I have not seen much activity around it… unless their are strealthy projects that are using it.

    To go back to the early days…. when pushing content actually was a focus (~late nineties), you would look at java related tech… this site has always been around to provide information and tools regarding java based pushlets:

    http://www.pushlets.com/

    and this is also worth mentioning:

    http://getahead.org/dwr/

    Googling for puhslets, servlets, server push, reverse ajax, http streaming and other terms should yield you accurate results for research.

    sull

  9. As for pushing content, the stuff the guys at Socialthing have been talking about seems really exciting.

    Someone else on my post about how people are using FriendFeed also suggested the need for a desktop-style application and I couldn’t agree more. Once someone gets the two-way right from the Web, I think it’ll be a matter of time before someone whips one up. At least I hope so ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I always used the Jabber integration in Twitter — just as good as a native client, but using a program I /already/ have running! No need to run YAN (Yet Another Notifier)

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