The future is the information stream
Last week one of the big news items was Seesmic acquiring the Twitter client Twhirl. This was bantered around a lot, but Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/WriteWeb really nailed it, I think. Without hype or hyperbole Marshall saw what I saw as well–this is a glimpse of what we’ll be doing in the not-so-distant future online.
Like Marshall I hope that Twhirl might be able to make the move from the hamstrung Twitter API for updates to XMPP. That would make Twhirl a power tool for information gathering. Add video to this … maybe IM … maybe email notification … RSS notifications … we’re looking at an app that could become your heads up display for what is going on and important to your world:
The second multimedia communication service built on AIR that gets acquired is going to go for a much higher price than we can presume this first one did, especially if it comes into the deal with XMPP of its own. Throw in integration of the new UStream API for live streaming video and you’ve got the kind of platform that Skype could have become if it hadn’t hit the swamp of mega-acquisition. Twhirl and Seesmic together have many of the traits that countless other companies are looking for, now.
Seesmic plus Twhirl is of course just two very forward-looking organizations in a large, diverse economy of innovation. Look at this deal though and you’ll see a big part of the future of online communication technology, no matter who it is that makes it happen. Source: Seesmic + Twhirl is a Vision of the Web’s Future – ReadWriteWeb
Stan a Mashable is looking for more tight IM integration, this would be very interesting, but I’d really just like to see XMPP first, maybe a connector to Gtalk would just be cake. The the rest of the IM cloud…do I really want that?:
5. Support for instant messaging protocols – this one is probably a bit far fetched, and I can imagine Marco’s hair standing up as he reads this, because it would probably take more work to do this than all he’s done on Twhirl so far. But, in the distant future, why not? I’m annoyed by the fact that I have to use Miranda (thankfully, Miranda supports Gtalk, ICQ, AIM, Jabber, Yahoo, and MSN, otherwise I’d have to use even more clients) Skype and Twhirl for what’s essentially a very similar thing: short messaging with my friends. If someone can create a cross platform app that does all this well, more power to him. Source: Mashable
It’s the users, stupid
Om Malik, of course, hits the other extremely important part of any software acquisition: users. Great software that no one uses, well might not be worth much. Sure it might help you technologically, but in today’s user-centric online world great tech isn’t enough, you need great tech and users:
I’m stingy with such compliments. In my opinion, the 21st (and real) reason why Loic bought this little client: users. Twhirl is very popular these days; it accounts for 7 percent of the traffic on Twitter, putting it in a good position to help Seesmic — whenever it comes out of alpha/beta/gamma testing — attract new users to its service very quickly. (Of course, Twitter fame can be fleeting, forgotten the minute the net-set discovers the next new shiny shiny.) Source: 21st (and Real) Reason Why Seesmic Bought Twhirl – GigaOM
Continuing on Om’s train of thought is this great post–Why Twitter will be bigger than Facebook–highlighting what I’ve been saying all along: Facebook is just a tool.
Yes, so is Twitter and Twhirl and Seesmic and I’m not arguing that those particular tools are the next best thing, I’m looking at what they do or rather what they could do in the future as the exciting part here. Remember email started off as being tied to tools. Little walled gardens of Prodigy, AOL, Compuserv, the rest of the ARPANET … now well you know the answer to that.
Building a platform for attention
In my vision of the heads up display app I don’t see it as replacing the tools I have now. I don’t really want to give up Outlook, or FeedDemon or whatever. But if I could just glance and see how many new mail messages I have (maybe subject lines too), what is hot in my RSS feeds (yep this needs some outside tech to make it all work, but aideRSS is getting there pretty darn fast), my Twitter updates, okay and some video responses. What is being developed is a platform for attention.
Funny it doesn’t seem that Loic even sees the potential in his video:
That’s okay, the user-driven culture will pull it all together for him. Here are some of the better posts I read when the news broke for your review and such…
- Loic Le Meur Blog: 20 reasons why Seesmic acquired Twhirl
- Seesmic and Twhirl: Why all the fuss? – mathewingram.com/work
- Seesmic acquires Twhirl, will add videos to popular Twitter client – Download Squad
- Seesmic Acquires Popular Twitter AIR Client Twhirl
- Seesmic Sets Its Sights on Twhirl– bub.blicio.us
- Video chat startup Seesmic acquires Twitter client Twhirl | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone
- Seesmic jilts the browser to take a twirl with Twhirl » VentureBeat
- Ross Mayfield’s Weblog: Twhirling Seemic’s Underweb
I think I’ll start building my own wish list now …