May 20, 2010

TweetDeck Aims to Be Client for All Streams In All Places

I touched briefly on TweetDeck's promised integration of the Google Buzz API yesterday evening, but did not gain the opportunity to try Iain Dodsworth's latest client until today. Luckily for me, I also ran into Iain at Google I/O this afternoon, and in stopping to congratulate him on his firm's raising $3 million in funding for a B round to fuel continued expansion, we talked about TweetDeck's future and got a sneak peek at some unreleased versions looking to hit computer and mobile screens soon.

The latest TweetDeck, available from their site, not only incorporates Buzz updates, but also Foursquare - much like its online cousin, Seesmic, had announced earlier this week. The additions mean that, should you choose to do so, you can view updates from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Buzz, Foursquare, and MySpace all from within TweetDeck's signature columned interface. TweetDeck was also featured running in full HTML 5 in the Chrome Web browser during Wednesday's keynote, and I saw it running again, on Iain's demo Mac today. In addition, Iain showed a sleek Android client of TweetDeck that's bound to hit very soon.

Adding Buzz and Foursquare to My TweetDeck

One of my main suggestions/complaints about Buzz in its 100 day life is that it is so closely tied to GMail. Even if I use GMail as a secondary account, I have always done so via IMAP, and read my GMail updates in Apple Mail. As a result, getting to Buzz requires a separate login to, and then clicking the Buzz tab. It has always felt the same as using a product in emulation or virtualization mode, and native is always better. But getting the Buzz stream in TweetDeck is surprisingly clean - and is a solid alternative that doesn't force me to go through first. From there, I can post directly to Buzz (but not with rich media yet), I can see others' streams, and add likes or comments right from within TweetDeck.

Hiding Foursquare from Other Columns! Yes!

I am also extremely partial to the option to add Foursquare as a separate column in TweetDeck while simultaneously hiding Foursquare updates in the "All Friends" column. Great move.

While many Twitter developers were shaking in their boots over the company's acquisition of Tweetie and development of Twitter for Android, Iain said he had no such fears. TweetDeck is focused on the high end of the market, he said, one that does not fear complexity, but is instead looking for a rich and heavily featured social media experience.

Buzz Activity Front And Center In TweetDeck

With TweetDeck's multi-column interface becoming instantly recognizable, more and more services are no doubt jockeying for position. As we were at Google I/O, we only partially joked about a Google-centric TweetDeck (GoogleDeck?) that would pull in Buzz, Google Wave, and Latitude, in lieu of Foursquare.

Iain reported that TweetDeck has swelled to 15 employees in the nearly two years since the product debuted in mid 2008, adding that even if TweetDeck were revenue-free, the $3 million raised today would last the team about two years, all expenses included. But TweetDeck has already found revenue streams, part of why the VCs are interested in getting a deeper position. Getting on more screens in more places with more content will no doubt make the product the feature-rich alternative to standard Twitter, and seeing Buzz in the client is already pushing more activity back to that network - making the move a win for both parties.