GClient Brings Google+ to Your Desktop


Google+ doesn’t yet offer an API, so creating Twitter-like desktop clients isn’t an option at this point. That isn’t stopping enterprising developers from trying to work around these limitations, though. Indeed, the first Google+ desktop client – GClient – just made its debut. In the end, though, this is really just a wrapper around the mobile Google+ site.

gclient_clientGiven that it is just a window into the mobile site, it has the same limitation as that version of Google+. You can’t really share links well and while you can +1 posts, you can’t +1 comments or easily post + replies. As the mobile site expects to run in a window with a fixed width and length, you also can’t resize the GClient window on the desktop. While testing the app, we also had some issues with crashes.

Just Use Fluid for Now

GClient is an interesting way to keep tabs on what is happening on Google+ without having to have a tab open for it at all times. For now, though, I would rather use an application-specific browser like Fluid on the Mac or Chrome’s application shortcut feature (or Mozilla’s Prism) to let Google+ run in its own window. This solution gives you the full functionality of Google+ without having to make any compromises. Once Google+ gets an API, we will likely see more interesting, Tweetdeck-like re-imaginations of its interface that make more sense on the desktop.

[Source: The Next Web]

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4:18 pm

Why Acquiring TweetDeck Makes Sense for Twitter


The Wall Street Journal today reported on a rumor that Twitter is “in advanced talks to buy TweetDeck,” the popular Twitter client for the desktop and browser. Neither Twitter nor TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth have responded to these rumors.

As much as I would prefer to see a healthy ecosystem of Twitter apps, I can’t help but think that it makes sense for Twitter to buy TweetDeck, especially given what we know about Twitter’s priorities these days.

Here is why I think this move makes sense for Twitter: [list]

  • TweetDeck is highly popular with Twitter’s heaviest users. Twitter is working hard on bringing more casual users to its service – even if it’s just for consuming news – but it doesn’t currently have any worthwhile in-house offerings for heavier users. While its mobile clients are quite good, the only desktop client Twitter currently offers is for the Mac and while it’s alright, it lacks quite a few of the features that power users would expect.
  • Rumor has it – and I’d take this with a grain of salt – that UberMedia acquired TweetDeck earlier this year. This rumor was never confirmed. Assuming UberMedia had bought TweetDeck, it would have controlled over 20% of all traffic on Twitter, something Twitter was likely not willing to let happen without a fight. Chances are that if both Twitter and UberMedia are interested in TweetDeck, Twitter will win the bidding war.
  • With the acquisition of Tweetie, Twitter already has some experience in adopting third-party clients to its in-house style.
  • Twitter has already said that it thinks all of these different clients are too confusing for its users. Turning the most popular third-party client into an official one (Twitter Pro?) takes care of this problem.
  • TweetDeck’s browser-based client (freely available for Chrome and as a closed beta for all other browsers) is actually better than Twitter’s own website (though not quite as good as Seesmic Web, in my opinion).
  • Twitter wants to have full control over its ecosystem. [/list]

Of course, there are also some cons. TweetDeck would be the only Adobe AIR-based client in its stable. It would also be the only one with support for Facebook (but that’s easily rectified, I imagine).

Consequence: A Twitter Monoculture

Overall, then, I think it would make sense for Twitter to buy TweetDeck. I’m not sure I like this idea, though. Twitter, it seems, wants to build a monoculture of official clients. This will hold back innovation and hurt Twitter in the long run (how much innovation have we seen from Twitter itself lately, after all?). Twitter needed the third-party ecosystem to grow during its early days and I can’t help but think that it still needs it today.

2:44 pm

TweetDeck Launches Web-Based Version of its Twitter Client for (Almost) All Browsers


TweetDeck, the popular Adobe AIR-based Twitter client, started offering a web-based version of its service in Google’s Chrome Web Store late last year. There, it quickly became one of the most popular apps in the store. Today, TweetDeck is launching a limited beta of the web-based version of TweetDeck that will also be available to users of other browsers. Specifically, TweetDeck Web will work with Chrome, Firefox 3.6 and 4, as well as Safari. Support for IE9 and Opera is coming soon.

TweetDeck is obviously not the first Twitter client to go this route. Seesmic, for example, has been offering a web-based version of its client for a long time already. Just like Seesmic, TweetDeck’s web version will look very similar to the original desktop-based product. One major difference, however, is that it will no support Twitter streaming.

For now, this is a private beta only. Only whitelisted TweetDeck accounts will be able to access to the beta at this point. You can sign up to be whitelisted here.

8:40 am

Will Change the Way You Tweet(deck)?


Back in the day, Twitter’s 140-character limit made sense, as the company was still mostly focused on the mobile market and tweets had to comfortably fit into a single text message. Now, however, as the majority of Twitter users use the Web and mobile and desktop apps to engage with the service, this limit makes less and less sense. TweetDeck, the popular mobile and desktop Twitter client just unveiled a new service,, that allows users to write blog-length Tweets without character limits.

TweetDeck announced this service last week and now, thanks to the latest update to its desktop, Android and in-browser apps, the service is available to all TweetDeck users. TweetDeck users will be able to see these long Tweets in their apps, while everybody else will see a link to where the full text of the message is then displayed.

Other services like TwitLonger also offer similar features, but TweetDeck has the unique advantage of being able to build this service right into one of the world’s most popular Twitter clients. It’s worth noting, too, that thanks to its open architecture, Seesmic also offers a TwitLonger plugin for its desktop client. post by Neal Cross-1.jpg

For TweetDeck, This is About More Than Just Long Tweets

There is more to this service than just breaking Twitter’s 140-character limit, though. With, TweetDeck now offers a nascent web service that looks quite a bit like a minimalist blogging tool. It offers Disqus comments for every post, for example. also resolves links to images on popular Twitter photo-sharing services and displays them on the site. As of now, though, users don’t get a permalink to a list of their long tweets. also gives the company a new way to monetize its services. While there is currently only a large house ad on every page, it’s easy to image a standard display or text ad taking its place in the long run.

One Major Problem: No API, Yet

As of now, though, doesn’t offer an API, so other developers can’t bake the service into their own apps. I would be surprised if the TweetDeck team didn’t have this on its roadmap already, but for now, this makes slightly less appealing.

Will This Change How You Tweet?

If you are a TweetDeck users, will this change how you tweet? Are you going to post long missives to Twitter now instead of pithy one-liners? Or will the closed nature of the system keep you from using it until other clients (and maybe Twitter itself) supports it?

11:58 am

Twitter’s New Desktop App for the Mac: A Disappointment


This morning, with the launch of the Mac App Store, Twitter also launched its new desktop app for the Mac. While the app is pretty, it’s missing too many essential features that serious Twitter users have become accustomed to. It also doesn’t keep up with the high standards that the official Twitter for iPhone and iPad apps have set over the last few months.

Don’t get me wrong, Twitter for Mac is a decent, lightweight client for those who only follow their closest friends and family members (and maybe a few celebrities), but it’s no replacement for clients like TweetDeck, HootSuite or Seesmic.


The Bad:

Here are a few examples of what I didn’t like about the app:
[list type=”red”]

  • What makes the Twitter for iPad app so great is that links open up in a third pane and don’t take you away from the app. Twitter for Mac does away with this. Clicking on a tweet in your timeline does absolutely nothing and clicking on links brings up your browser.
  • The app has amnesia. The moment you click away from the lists view, it will forget what list you were looking at before and you’ll have to click through to that list again.
  • Same thing for searches. Do a search and click away from it to see your direct messages, for example, and the app will have no recollection of what you just searched for when you click on the search button again. Annoying.
  • No button to start a new tweet? You have to either use the keyboard shortcut (and one of the nicest features is that the app allows you to set a global hotkey for new tweets) or click through the menu at the bottom of the screen to start a new tweet.
  • If there is a conversations view, it’s hidden away. I haven’t found it yet.
  • No support for third-party URL-shorteners? Seriously?
  • Clicking on a person’s avatar bring up a timeline, not the person’s profile.
  • I know I’m nitpicking now, but this is quite annoying as well: the minimalist interface makes it hard to drag the app across the screen. You have to find a spot on the sidebar to actually move the app around.
  • [/list]

    The OK:

    Not all is bad, of course. The app is lightweight, fast and new tweets happily scroll across your screen in real time. A global hotkey for sending new tweets is a nice feature as well. So is support for multiple accounts, which the app also handles quite nicely.

    Over on TechCrunch, Erick Schonfeld calls the app a “half-hearted attempt” – an apt description. For now, you won’t miss much if you stay away from it.

    11:32 am

    TweetDeck Goes Real Time – And It’s a Whole New Way of Using Twitter


    Yesterday, TweetDeck’s Richard Barley announced a new beta version of the popular Twitter (and Buzz, LinkedIn and Facebook) client. In this new version, TweetDeck uses Twitter’s new streaming API to display tweets in real time. Until now, clients had to poll Twitter’s servers at regular intervals to update your searches and lists. Now, Twitter just pushes every single new post directly to your desktop. While this seems like a minor change (after all, it’s just a faster way to deliver tweets), it actually changes the way you look at Twitter as a communications medium.

    Twitter in Real Time – It’s Different Here

    Thanks to this, you can now respond to incoming messages in real time, which makes Twitter feel more like an instant messaging service than SMS. If you are a business, for example, you can immediately respond to a tweet about your product, increasing the chance that the person who wrote it is actually still online. here is also something about just seeing this constant stream of information scrolling down your screen that feels a little bit like you are connected to the Matrix. Overall, though, it’s this new immediacy that changes how using Twitter feels, even though it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for this.


    For the time being, the real-time stream in TweetDeck only works for your core columns (all friends, mentions, direct messages), old TweetDeck groups and searches. Sadly, it doesn’t work for Twitter lists yet, which is quite a shame, given that there is so much value in these lists.

    Get the Beta

    If you would like to apply for TweetDeck’s closed beta, click here.

    2:44 pm