Image via WikipediaThe regular user interface updates to our favourite social networking sites are like a strategic massively multiplayer online role playing game. We're the population and the objective is monetization, through features, growth and funding.
Facebook updated their homepage earlier this year, Kevin Rose recently stated that Digg are also going to receive a real-time makeover. I'm intrigued by the real-time vision, the open stream is definitely the future and both Friendfeed and Twitter services are where it's happening. That's why I'm impressed by the latest round of feature updates -
Friendfeed have now made their real-time beta design - that they originally unveiled three weeks ago - the default for all users. All pages now update as they happen, I have found the new user interface has increased the amount of Comments and Likes my imported items have received. More exposure is definitely a move in the right direction especially for bloggers, content providers etc. Also included is an advanced Search; Friendfeed by email; profile information; more powerful "reshare" functionality; you can now sign up for FriendFeed and find all of your friends with a single click from the FriendFeed homepage; a "My discussions" feed that shows every entry you've participated in; notification options for email, IM and our desktop notifier; keyboard shortcuts for the most common commands.
Every public update sent to Twitter from anywhere in the world, at any time can now be instantly indexed and made discoverable via the newly launched real-time search. The Twitter blog refers to the service as a discovery engine for finding out what is happening right now.
Twitter teaches us new and amazing things every day and a big lesson learned is that search is so much more than a box and a button. As public tweets fly in from around the globe, we analyze them to detect when certain words or phrases occur with higher frequency. These trending phrases are surfaced in the Twitter home page just under the new search box and they're updated throughout the day. Built on our search technology, trends are a compelling if rudimentary way to explore a collective global consciousness ~ BizI promote trends regularly and believe it's only a matter of time before they are adopted as the primary method of tracking trending phrases. I wrote recently how I felt Friendfeed should introduce real-time trends as with the openness of the service it would be a well received feature. Facebook should also consider trends but with the privacy controls in place it wouldn't provide an accurate portrayal of popular phrases.
As appears to have become standard with Twitter, any announcement always is met with a negative story. Today I learnt that there had been another security breach and someone had achieved access to the Twitter admin interface. It's been a rollercoaster few months but they're in a strong position and these latest updates will only enhance the usability for the users of the service!