If it wasn’t for this tweet from Frank Gruber I would have never found out about AOL’s new Lifestreaming service at buddyupdates.com and chances are if youÂ wouldn’tÂ have either.Â Quite surprisingly I didn’t see any ofÂ the major newsÂ outlets likeÂ ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, Webware or TechCrunchÂ review or mention it. So when I decided to take a look at it I didn’t expect much.
By their own description “Buddy Updates is a free service that lets you view and share your online activities with your AIM buddies”. Sure sounded like a Lifestreaming service to me so I went ahead and started looking under the hood. If you already have an AIM account signup is a snap. Just login and you can access the service immediately. Once logged in you are taken to an “everyone” activity page and voila, you already have a page streaming all of the activities of your existing AIM buddies.
AOL has done a good job of keeping this service dead simple. There are only two other pages besides the “everyone” page titled “just me” & “setup”. The just me page is exactly what you think. A personal filtered view of stream activity, while the setup page is nice and clean and allows you to add web services to your stream. TheyÂ currently supportÂ 14 services whichÂ are Twitter, Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Xanga, Flickr, Webshots, Â Del.icio.us, Mixx, StumbleUpon, Blip.TV, Viddler, YouTube, and MySpace. They also support adding your own sites. Lastly,Â Â theyÂ provide activity from many of their own existing properties as well.
After the simple setup I went to the “just me” page and was happy to see that they had already imported some data from the services I added. The look is simple and clean whereby my AIM icon is merged with a service icon to show me a list of updates from each of my addedÂ services. It did not import data from my Flickr or YouTube accounts so I don’t know how they handle media on the page.
Viewing of the updates is done one of two ways. The site provides a custom url you can give people to view in a browser or they can see updates within their AIM client. If you want to see an example you can visit my page here.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with AOL’s entry into the Lifestreaming game. Not so much based on the funcionality of theirÂ offering, but more because they seem to know their audience well and have created a service that is tailored specifically to them. The site is designed well and simpleÂ enough to ease people into the joys of Lifestreaming. The fact that it’s tapping the existing AIM user base makeÂ it another large player poisedÂ towards gaining more mainstream adoption of Lifestreaming.
I’m guessing AOL (like Facebook) has seen theÂ future of Lifestreaming and realized it’s a no brainer and of great value to add this service to their existing user base.Â And just like Facebook if the users are already on the service it makes the barrier to entry low and gives them another reason to remain on the service. Very well played AOL, I’m impressed.