Facebook Stalks Twitter
It’s been a busy day over at Facebook HQ. They have announced three new features/applications that are either influenced directly by Twitter or can be viewed as direct competitors to features of Twitter.
@Replies in Status Updates
A compelling feature of Twitter is the ability to either respond directly to another Twit by leading your tweet with an ‘@’ and Twitter account name, or reference another twit by including the @username anywhere in the tweet. If someone puts @aardrian in his/her tweet, I am notified in some fashion (some third-party applications handle it differently depending on your preferences)
Facebook launched a similar, but different, feature today and will be rolling it out over coming weeks.
The gist is this: Start a status update and begin to reference a friend by typing an ‘@.’ A menu will appear at that point allowing you to select one of your Facebook friends (or groups/events/apps/pages). The ‘@’ goes away once you select someone, but that name remains a link to the person’s profile. The person you referenced will be notified via email and/or a wall post that he/she was mentioned in your update.
Launched but not widely available, Facebook Lite is a stripped down version of your Facebook friend feed. The idea was to create a simpler interface that focuses on the updates from your friends. The speculation is that it’s intended to mimic the Twitter feed, but with the uniquely Facebook features. Mashable has screen captures in their article, “BREAKING: Facebook Lite Is Live.”
Facebook Pushes FriendFeed Open Source
A month ago Facebook aquired FriendFeed and called many of its aggregation features its own as a result. Today Facebook is releasing the web framework that powers the real-time functionality of FriendFeed as an open source tool called Tornado. Organizations that are looking for a framework designed to focus specifically on speed and performance for real-time data throughput have another option that has already been stress-tested as a Facebook add-on and stand-alone application.
- http://www.tornadoweb.org/, The Tornado web site.
- Tornado: Facebook’s Real-Time Web Framework for Python over at the Facebook developer blog.
- The technology behind Tornado, FriendFeed’s web server over at Facebook’s Director of Products, Bret Taylor, personal blog.
Facebook is such a mess. It's popular but a total mess to work with. Too many features, a beyond-cluttered API, and one of the buggiest, most confusing UI's I've ever seen.
Contrast that with twitter's clean, simple interface, easy-as-pie API, and open acceptace of 3rd party applications (twitterific, tweetdeck, twitterfon, etc).
No matter what FB tries to steal from Twitter, it'll still just be Facebook, a cluttered behemoth, packed with useless features and mildly annoying advertisements.
(That's my opinion on the matter. Now I gotta go update my facebook status…)
Reading through Twitter this morning it's clear the general mood is that Facebook Lite is preferred by the people commenting. Perhaps because of their experience with Twitter's simple UI they prefer a similar experience on Facebook?