Trying out FriendFeed

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You may have come across the announcement today that FriendFeed, a so called lifestreaming utility has come out of private beta and is open to the general public.

The general idea is somewhat similar to the News Feed or Mini Feed concept in Facebook. Within Facebook the two feeds collect together news stories about people – the News Feed being a collection of stories about your friends, and the Mini Feed being specifically about one person. The big problem is that unless you add extra applications to do so, the feeds only include stories about events that occur within Facebook. I’ve got around that somewhat using a selection of applications to highlight when I upload new pictures to Flickr, share an item from Google Reader, or post to my blog, but the applications vary in how they work, and some need a kick to update their information.

FriendFeed collects together information about all those sites, plus a large number of others, and produces a single feed of all my updates – the equivalent of the Facebook mini feed. It also brings together a combined feed of friends – either for real if they have their own FriendFeed accounts, or through imaginary friends – placeholders for feeds effectively – that users can set up for friends not on the system, giving the equivalent of the Facebook news feed. On top of that, it also has a nice little Facebook application that allows all this information to be automatically put into the Facebook feeds, so I can effectively ditch the mix and match solution I have currently – and also get rid of the need to give the system a kick when I update.

I’ll have to see how FriendFeed behaves over the next few days – so far it’s been okay, although it did seem to take an interminably long time to update earlier on – having cleared out a lot of Facebook applications, that seems to have alleviated the problem. Just have to see how it goes from here. It’s not just about sharing items – the system also gives the opportunity to comment on shared items with FriendFeed – will be interesting to see how that works too.

I’m actually only utilising seven of the twenty-eight different services FriendFeed aggregates, so perhaps I’m not testing it quite as hard as some may be. Anyway, if anyone is interested in my feed, you can find it here – although you’ll have to sign up to follow me as the feed is private.

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