April 07, 2009, 8:14 AM — So the big FriendFeed reveal yesterday was a simplified interface and a rather bizarre 'real time' updating system that makes FriendFeed feel a little bit like an Instant Messaging system run amuck. You can check it out at http://beta.friendfeed.com if you haven't already.
I like most of the changes; the site feels cleaner to me. But it also feels a lot more like Twitter (which was maybe the point). The problem is that Twitter is about the community, and the community isn't on FriendFeed, at least not yet. I should qualify that. My community isn't on FriendFeed yet. Yours might be.
The live updating is just crazy. I can't think of anything I like less than a page that updates itself while I'm reading it. Doesn't this make it a page that is constantly loading? I had that back in the dial-up era, thank you very much. If I really wanted it today I could accomplish it with a Firefox plugin.
To elaborate, one of the big differentiators of FriendFeed is the commenting system, so you can have micro-discussions based around a post (this isn't new). That plants FriendFeed inbetween Twitter and a blog, in a way. Whether you see that as the best of both worlds, or a kind of "neither fish nor fowl" situation is personal preference. I found it enough of a burden scanning up and down the page, looking for new posts in one place and new comments in another, when the page was static. With it updating and moving constantly it just gives me a headache trying to follow everything. Happily FriendFeed does allow you to turn this 'live-updating' feature off easily.
I admit I'm not a hardcore FriendFeed user, so I'm not the best person to be commenting on the beta (though I admit I'm intrigued enough that I'll be playing with it some more). I would love to hear what others thought of it though, particularly folks for whom FriendFeed.com is home base. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.