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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fw: Black Web 2.0 - Finding Relevant News: Streamy Out of Private Beta

Finding Relevant News: Streamy Out of Private Beta

Posted: 25 Mar 2009 01:58 PM PDT

It's a content aggregator. It's a feed reader. It's a way to discover, share and discuss news. It connects to your Flickr, Twitter, FriendFeed, and Facebook. It's called Streamy and, after about 2yrs in private beta, it's finally available to the public. Whether it's ready for prime-time remains to be seen.

Following Blogs

Clicking Blogs will get you a list of all your RSS feeds. You can add your blogs or feeds by choosing from a list or importing from Blog Lines, Google Reader or OPML. The interface is pretty basic, but gets the job done. If you're used to something more advanced like Google Reader or Feedly, you may possibly find this interface a bit tedious.
In addition to adding and importing blogs you like, Streamy will recommend news for you based on your interests. The recommendations improve over time as your interact with the service. This alone is a very powerful feature for finding things relevant to you.

Following People

Clicking People will take you to your friends' activity on Streamy. You'll be able to see who you follow and what they're doing on Streamy. This early on, I'm seeing people importing a lot of feeds, just getting onto the service, so this feature isn't all that useful yet. One thing that Streamy could do is provide a grouping feature so that your activity stream isn't dominated by one person importing 300 feeds (what? doesn't everyone follow that many blogs?).
In addition to searching for and following other users on Streamy, you can also easily find your friends from other services. Simply hit Setup and connect to Flickr, FriendFeed, Facebook, Digg or Twitter. Then, on the People page, click Add People and the options to add from other networks appear on the left.

Follow Groups

If you're looking to find people with more specific interests, you can find or create a group. These seem to work just like following people. You'll be able to share items with the group and see what items have been shared the group by others. You can also join a live group chat just as you can chat live with your friends.
I haven't actually been able to get either chat to work at this point. I'm assuming this feature is still getting worked out.

Combining Your Social Services

Once you've connected Streamy to your other services, you will see an icon for each in the top-left corner. On these pages, you'll find your activity has been imported right into Streamy. The implementation here is incomplete (for pretty good reason, discussed later), but the idea that I could interact with a bunch of different social media sites from one place is intriguing.
FriendFeed - You can comment on stuff in your feed, but you can't "Like" anything. Any FriendFeed user would see how this is a huge disadvantage as Liking stuff is one of the best features of FriendFeed. Since other established services have been duplicating this feature (Facebook, 12seconds.tv, etc.), one would think this would have been ready from jump.
Twitter - At this point, the Twitter implementation is completely one way. You can view your timeline, replies and direct messages. You can also add custom searches and view trends. You can't reply, retweet or favorite anything.
Facebook - Again, you can look, but you can't touch anything. You'll get a list of your friends' statuses. You can't comment or like anything.
Flickr - The Flickr page allows you to add custom searches and view your Flickr Photo Activity.

Sharing Stuff

At first glance, it seems a huge oversight that you can't post things to your other services from their individual pages. What I failed to realize is that you can drag any link in Streamy and easily share it with your friends/groups on Streamy, FriendFeed, Twitter, and Facebook.
So, while reading your blogs on Streamy, you can share them everywhere with a simple drag-and-drop. You can also set your status on Streamy and have it posted to all your other services.

Still Checking Things Out

Streamy is definitely one of those services where you have to try it before you can figure out if you'll like it or not. The interface is clean and very customizable, allowing you to drag things around, add/remove columns, and add/re-size widgets. I try to stay active on entirely too many services, so I'd need them to support something like Ping.fm to satisfy my sharing needs. There are still some bugs and things that don't work, but it's definitely worth a look if you need a better way to handle your information overload.
Still not convinced? Check out the Streamy demo video.

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