January 21, 2010

Seesmic, Microsoft Team for Mainstream Twitter Tool: Look

Despite Twitter's phenomenal growth over the last few years, many see the microblogging network as odd, for geeks, or difficult to fully embrace, as it can be hard to find relevant content or a challenge to find people to follow or engage with. Seesmic, which has been making headlines on a regular basis over the last few months as Loic LeMeur's company has launched an array of clients for different devices, and even purchased Ping.fm for multi-network broadcasting, has now partnered with Microsoft and the Windows 7 team in Redmond to deliver a new product which brings engaging Twitter content to the desktop, without requiring users to even log in to view content.

The new tool, called Seesmic Look, hopes to make browsing Twitter as easy as selecting channels on a television. Look organizes people and brands, led by many celebrities' accounts, and centralizes an area for brands to communicate to potential customers, much like Facebook Fan Pages today. The product is a Windows desktop application, prepopulated with top users' accounts, by category.

Ellen DeGeneres In Seesmic Look

Instead of presenting the individual's updates on a monchromatic background, ordered from most recent to oldest, as has become the standard in Twitter clients for both the Web and desktop, Look displays the content in floating box windows atop artistically designed pages, featuring artsy Hollywood names for some celebrities and bold logos for participating brands.

Time's Channel on Seesmic Look

Like more traditional Twitter clients, Seesmic Look lets users track words or phrases through the application's search functionality. But as with the dedicated channel pages, the search results are also played back in a more visually entertaining array, more in common with a computer screensaver than flat search results common on practically every other solution.

If users do opt to login to Seesmic Look, it comes as no surprise that one can manage online mentions, direct messages and updates from within the application. Once logged in, you can make replies, favorite updates, view user profiles, post photos and shorten links, just as you can with other clients, but leveraging the unique application's interface.

Searching Twitter in Seesmic Look

Browsing Twitter Lists In Seesmic Look

For longtime Twitter veterans, Look won't add dramatically new functionality that would have them deleting their Seesmic Desktop, TweetDeck or Tweetie, even if you prefer native Windows clients. But for the more casual users who have heard of Twitter and didn't have a great idea as to how they should get started, Look should get them to do just that.

After a slow start in the innovation side that had many wondering when Seesmic was going to stop parroting TweetDeck and following the company's lead, it is clear they have achieved momentum and are looking to find new ways to bring the realtime Web discussions out of the edge and into the norm. Teaming up with Microsoft's Windows 7 team looks to have been a fortuitous relationship that is helping the company deliver a unique interface and new approach to consuming data from the real-time firehose.