28 September 2010

Brizzly improves web interface before Twitter*

In spite of the increasing competition from the new Twitter web interface, the third-party clients are still alive and well, adding their ideas to the Twitter ecosystem. Today my favorite Twitter client, Brizzly, released an update with an impressive – and much awaited – set of improvements. Like other much more notorious bloggers, I started to write about it on Google Buzz, but soon I began discovering other small changes and switched to a full blog post; besides, Brizzly deserves one. Brizzly update announcement

I don’t have much to say about the Foursquare integration, as I don’t have an account there and also not planning to get one anytime soon. But the adoption of native-style retweets is very welcomed indeed. I use them much more often than the traditional retweets and being able to easily RT inside Brizzly saves a trip to the potentially dangerous Twitter web site. The implementation is simple and so clean you will barely notice a change: when you click the usual retweet button a small bar appears under the tweet; from there you can ‘Comment’ to edit the status in a new box or ‘Just retweet’ to post a native RT. Brizzly native style retweet

But this update is as much about new functions as it is about responding to user feedback. One of the changes to the interface I personally suggested a couple of month ago was to bring the Twitter favorites to a more accessible location, preferably on top of the timeline, only a click away. Needless to say I has happy to see this change live today!

Another heavily requested feature ever since the launch was an always-visible status box and Brizzly has now put one in the left sidebar, taking advantage of the space available after adding new collapsible menus. This status box is also where you want to go if you need to access your drafts and uploaded pictures. I think it’s a positive change; I rarely use these features and placing them on top of the timeline didn’t add anything to the usability. Like before, the Brizzly status box auto-shortens links and can include images and emoticons. Brizzly updated status box

And, since everybody talks about how the New Twitter copied a whole set of features from Brizzly, it’s time for the bear to strike back: it now hides the tweet source links, just like the #newtwitter! Well, except in Brizzly you only need to hover over the tweet to see the source link again. Let’s not forget the spontaneous #newbrizzly hashtag for the update, which just comes naturally after hearing about #newtwitter for days without seeing the update on your account.Brizzly updates with Foursquare support

For all the goodies Twitter is slowly introducing to the masses, Brizzly still remains the better choice in my opinion, even without today's update. In case you haven’t use it before, some of the features are pretty much unique: explanations for the Twitter trends, Picnics for group chatting and muting, even tough not (yet?) smart. After getting used to them, it’s hard to switch to anything less.

Well, on my account at least, and probably for many others.

P.S. While writing this post, Louis Gray reports that Brizzly, along with the company behind the service, Thing Labs, has been acquired by AOL, just like TechCrunch! Now that’s an interesting time to be releasing an update!

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