Take a pinch of FriendFeed, add a sprinkling of Digg and Twitter Search, throw in your favourite search engine and you’d be some way towards the potential that Swedish start-up Twingly‘s new service Twingly Channels has.
Best thought of as a version of Twitter’s old Track feature (but for the whole web) combined with the social elements of FriendFeed and Digg, Twingly Channels is designed to be a ‘meme-tracker’ for anything you’re interested in. You can set up a ‘Channel’ to search for anything and service will then deliver results from around the web in real-time.
It’s more than real-time search, though. The social aspect to the service leads Twingly to claim that Channels will offer “The simplest user interface possible allowing you to decide in an instant what news and conversations to spend time on”. Multimedia content, such as video and podcasts will be viewable within the channel where possible.
In addition to standard search results users can vote on and discuss content and submit their own links. Standard search results are displayed on an ‘Incoming’ view, while a ‘Popular’ view provides real-time results related to your search based on how popular they are with other users, including their comments and votes.
It all sounds very much like FriendFeed but some of the examples of how the service can be used hint that Twingly Channels will offer some extra features.
- Channels can be hosted on your own domain, and can be set as ‘Private’ if you wish. Want to monitor what people are saying about you without looking like an ego-maniac? That should be easy. Meanwhile if you want everyone to see the results, that’s fine too.
- There’s an OPML import feature. While Twingly hasn’t given many details about this yet, it appears you could import a set of RSS feeds and then base your search only on those feeds – great for narrowing down searches when it’s useful.
- For a fee you’ll be able to add premium features to Channels, including skinning and the aforementioned self-hosted option allowing you to make a channel fit perfectly with your site’s design. Businesses will also be charged for creating channels for marketing purposes.
As with FriendFeed, the service will support login using Twitter OAuth or Facebook Connect.
Ever since FriendFeed announced it was being bought by Facebook, users have been looking for an alternative service for effective real-time sharing and content discovery. Some people thought Google Reader (with its recently-added social features) or Posterous might be the solution. Twingly’s new Twingly Channels looks like it could beat them all.
We hope to be able to have a play with the service soon. It will be formally launched at the Future of Web Applications event in London on 1st October. Here are some screenshots of how the service is looking…