I’m finally getting around to penning that post on Brizzly I’ve been threatening for a week.
Not that anyone noticed. It’s been eerily quiet in the comments lately.
Anyway, at OpenWorld, Rich turned me on to Brizzly and provided an invite. I’d heard about it over the Summer, but for whatever reason, it didn’t stick.
Oh, I know why; Brizzly is a web client for Twitter, which sounds pretty dull, considering that Twitter.com already exists so why would I need a web client?
Turns out Brizzly has done a lot of the things I wish Twitter.com had done, and frankly, Brizzly is the web interface that Twitter should have built for Twitter.com.
Beyond the feature set, I’m ready to ditch TweetDeck, not for lack of features, but because Adobe AIR uses way too many system resources. I’m happy with TweetDeck’s features and continue to use it on my iPhone, but the AIR client is just too much of a resource pig.
This is more an AIR problem, than a TweetDeck one.
So, what’s the big deal about Brizzly?
Brizzly showcases some great interface design, which shouldn’t be terribly surprising considering that Jason Shellen, formerly of Blogger and the founding PM for Google Reader, is one of the founders of Thing Labs, the company behind Brizzly.
Shellen’s influence has brought a lot of thoughtful, Reader-esque features to Brizzly, making it much easier to consume a stream of tweets. I’ll hit the features I like best individually.
Links, media resolved inline
Brizzly resolves shortened links and shows media (definitely pictures and video, not sure about sound files) inline, which is a huge feature.
Aside from the whole “breaking the Internet” problem, shortened links lead to blind clicking in that you have no idea what’s behind them. Brizzly resolves the link to show the original URL.
In addition, if someone shares a video or a picture, Brizzly includes the content inline for viewing, something we included in our most recent redesign of Connect. It’s so much more convenient to stay on the same page, rather than bouncing all over the place. Not to mention that this keeps the focus on the stream of tweets, rather than fracturing my attention.
Brizzly has a couple thoughtful navigational features that I really appreciate: infinite scrolling and keyboard shortcuts.
Infinite scrolling is huge. What do I mean? Sites like Connect, Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook all have long pages of activity, and when you reach the bottom of the page, you’re presented with a pager (old school) or a “load more” function.
Brizzly just keeps loading tweets as you reach the end of what they’ve fetched. So, you never have to signify that you want more content; it just appears, after a short fetch. Don’t be surprised if this soon becomes the de facto standard.
I’ve documented my love for keyboard shortcuts in the past. I love them in Reader and on Connect, and Shellen has brought this feature to Brizzly.
It’s surprisingly productive to navigate through a bunch of tweets using keyboard shortcuts and infinite scrolling.
Brizzly also has the features you’d expect from a good Twitter client–groups, multiple account support, saved searches and trends.
With the release of Twitter Lists, I wonder how groups will be handled. Brizzly’s groups are limited to five with a cap on members at 50. A bit odd, but I assume it’s a scalability concern. Every Twitter client with groups will face an interesting problem with Lists though, not just Brizzly.
Brizzly also auto-shortens links and supports a Twitter picture client, not sure which one.
Saved searches are very handy. I used #oow09 quite a lot during OpenWorld.
Brizzly also shows the current trending topics, along with an explanation about why a topic is trending. It also adds a crowdsourcing element, allowing you to explain why a keyword or phrase is trending.
Overall, I’m digging Brizzly, and it’s replaced TweetDeck completely. The one drawback is speed, but it’s still in invite-only beta so I assume this will improve.
Last week, Brizzly announced Facebook account support, but I’ve yet to see that appear in my account, not that I’m in a huge hurry. I hardly ever use Facebook and doubt that a client would increase that; I fiddled with TweetDeck’s integration for about a week before turning off the Facebook account.
I would like to see Facebook Connect or OpenID support though. I’m so over having a new account for everything.
Anyway, if you use Brizzly, what do you think? If not, I have a few invites. If you want one, drop a comment.
Update: I still have a few invites left, and there are several people in the comments who’ve offered to provide invites as well.