Socialthing! Pay Heed If You Want To Compete

Techcrunch has a great review up of the new kid on the block Socialthing! and warns FriendFeed to watch out! Techcrunch states:

Socialthing! officially goes into private beta today and will let in the first 1,000 TechCrunch readers who use the invitation code “TechCrunch” to sign up (you’ll have to wait a few days to get your account, however).

I used the invite code and got my account activated within seconds. Techcrunch’s review of Socialthing! ends up being more of a compare and contrast of both services.

While FriendFeed actually requires users to create their own list of friends on FriendFeed, Socialthing! realizes you probably don’t want to create yet another list of your friends. So instead of asking you to do more work, it automatically detects who your friends are on the social services to which you belong.

Robert Scoble always said the comments section is where it’s at. This article is no exception! In the comments section, numerous complaints about missing features (that FriendFeed already provides) have been brought up over and over. Not only is Socialthing! behind in terms of how many services you can add, but forces you to hand over your precious credentials; something FriendFeed doesn’t ask for.

Everyone who knows anything about what’s going on in tech news, knows that this has been a pretty touchy subject for a while. So much so that companies (Google) are releasing contact API’s so that users don’t have to hand over their credentials. I recall one blogger (I want to say it was Marshall Kirkpatrick) tweet on twitter that they were no longer handing over their Twitter credentials for new applications and services. What did founder and CEO Matt Galligan have to say? “@marshallk thanks…since we’re doing stuff with friends lists we need auth…we too hate having to give over passwords

What do Crunchers have to say?

Luigi Montanez
Having to give my password for and Twitter is a complete non-starter. No thanks Socialthing!

I love that this story comes immediately after this:
“These users should have known better than to type their email credentials into a third party service, so sympathy levels are at a minimum.”

I’ll just hop on over to SocialThing! now and enter my credentials (I wouldn’t anyway, but it was just funny).

The BIG difference with FriendFeed is that FriendFeed aggregates all your data WITHOUT asking for your password.
Do you really trust 1 website with all your passwords to your social services?
Also seriously lacking in Socialthing is the ability to add an arbitrary RSS feed to the livestream. (Like your blog)
If SocialThing wants to survive it needs to step up before its momentum is gone again.

What’s the word about it on FriendFeed so far?

Though there are obvious similarities, it appears to be a fairly different product from FriendFeed, much as Spokeo, etc are. It sounds like Socialthing!! is trying to build a generic layer on top of all the social networks so that you can manage them all through one interface. FriendFeed is about sharing and discussion with friends — it works with and augments other web sites, but should also be useful even if you don’t use other services. – Paul Buchheit

Is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with giving out login credentials to every new web-thing that pops up? wants your credentials to make it easy for you to post from the feedreader, SocialThing wants them to continually keep updated about who your friends are. Everyone else just wants them to read your contact list “once”. It’s not that I don’t trust you all… Oh, yes – it is just that I don’t trust you – Tormod Haugen

I just signed up. We’ll see… So far… it’s way behind in total services supported. – Louis Gray

Yup…agree. and the service is really really slow. – Edmund

Initial impression: Slow; annoying because you can’t just set a display name and it asks for your real name (which you can lie about but it’s still annoying); pitiful in the low number of services supported. – Voyagerfan5761

I hope for it’s own sake that Socialthing! can live up to the hype that Techcrunch has put behind it and address user complaints ASAP! If not, I can see this being in Techcrunch’s dead pool just as quickly as it hit the front page. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on…

As for taking FriendFeed’s light; I doubt it. FriendFeed is easy enough and I happen to like picking and choosing whom to add and dismiss. That’s not something I want automated regardless of who I’m friends with. Sometimes, friends on certain networks don’t overlap and I certainly wouldn’t add all of my Twitter followers to FriendFeed nor Socialthing! Having a choice isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t make life that much of a hassle Techcrunch. I think Mark Hendrickson is simply being lazy! =P

***Update: Great post and points on some of Socialthings! problems and flaws.

Technorati tags: Social aggregator, social aggregation, Socialthing, Friendfeed, RSS aggregator

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on