December 23, 2008

TweetDeck Readies New Release, Slimming Down & Adding Services

In TweetDeck's five months of public availability following the Adobe AIR Twitter client's debut in July, the product has seen significant usage growth, battling for market share against competition like Twhirl, and becoming the standard for power users of the microblogging service who want to see all their friends' updates as well as search terms, and have the ability to group followers at the same time. On Monday, PR 2.0's Brian Solis measured TweetDeck as having delivered a full 3.8% of all tweets, and I've personally seen this number as high as 6%, according to TweetStats.

The New TweetDeck: Click for Full Size

As with any service that gains in popularity, demands become greater on the product's developers, and TweetDeck is no exception. Author Iain Dodsworth is planning to release a new version of the product on December 24th (tomorrow), with a long list of new features, including:
  • Adding sent direct messages to the direct message (DM) column.
  • An added spell checker
  • The addition of a "narrow columns" option
  • Integration of TweetShrink
  • The introduction of new TweetDeck Services

TweetDeck Will Display Narrower Columns

One of the few concerns I've seen voiced regarding TweetDeck is that it can be a screen real estate hog. Once you start with a column showing your friends' tweets, add a Replies column and Direct Messages, pretty soon you're giving up a good chunk of your monitor. With that in mind, Dodsworth has both updated the interface to make it slimmer, but also added the aforementioned "narrow columns" option. The addition of sent DMs in the DM column also makes sense, essentially showing the conversation in full, assuming you are both sending and receiving DMs with the same Twitter users.

The New TweetDeck Integrates Spell Check

The addition of TweetShrink to TweetDeck also helps to bail you out in the event you have something to say, but just can't seem to keep it down to a mere 140 characters.

For example, the note: "Will it reduce the number of characters in my message or tell me what to cut?" is shortened to "Will it reduce the number of characters in my msg or tell me what 2 cut?", saving me five characters. Who knows when that could come in handy? It also reduces common words like "and" to &, for example.

Also interesting is the addition of the first of what is expected to be many TweetDeck Services, that enables additional information from outside of TweetDeck to be displayed. In this version, there is an undocumented feature that injects your follower data in the top of the replies column as the application is started, powered by Dodsworth promises more will be integrated along the way.

TweetDeck has already become the go-to Twitter application for many of Twitter's most-active users, including Ross Mayfield, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Darren Rowse, Mark Krynsky and Guy Kawasaki. Dodsworth hopes the latest updates will gain even more conversions, and you can already see the buzz building around the new TweetDeck in Twitter:

You can expect to see the newest version of TweetDeck hit the Web on Christmas Eve, December 24th.