Aug 17, 2007

Streamy is chock full of Ajaxy, social media goodness

I recently received an invitation to beta test the new social bookmarking app RSS feedreader, Streamy, thanks to (thanks, Pete!) I've been taking it for a test drive this morning, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. Do you like the sweet Ajax user interface of Ma.gnolia, but not the slightly girly design? Then you'll like Streamy.

The interface is beautifully slick and clean, and it has truly excellent usability. The "Start" page is the typical social bookmarking "most popular" list, which appears to be personalized (possibly based on your expressed interests, or possibly based on the subscriptions you've chosen). The next navigation link takes you to your subscriptions--and this is by far the slickest and most fun to use feed-reader I've seen so far.

You can browse for subscriptions by most popular, by topic, or you can enter your favorite feeds manually. Of course, when I say "manually" you might be cringing, imagining yourself dealing with some clunky form page. Au contraire, mon frere. The Ajax pop-up is clean and simple, a joy to use, pretty much (unless you subscribe to a few dozen feeds--I didn't notice a place to import your feeds from another feedreader.) After your subscriptions are all in, your subscription page lists post excerpts in date order. You've also got a sidebar that lists your subscriptions individually--so if you want to only look at one particular feed at a time, it's simple to do so.

Clicking on the title of a post excerpt opens the full post in another nifty Ajax pop-up. There's also a "launch" button if you want to launch that particular site in a new window or tab. You can comment on posts internally within Streamy, which other Streamy users who are logged in and looking at that story can read--but it doesn't appear to post those comments outside of Streamy on the originating site.

Of course, because it's a very web 2.0 site, you can join networks, groups, and add friends. Wouldn't be much of a social bookmarking site without that. You also have the obligatory profile page, chat, and IM functionality. Drag 'n Drop sharing of stories and other media is a nice interesting touch. You can even drag another user into an IM window to create an instant chat room (although the metaphorical implications of literally dragging a friend into a chat room are more than I want to contemplate at the moment. It reminds me vaguely of being dragged into a nightclub to socialize when I really wanted to get some sleep. Ah, well.) On the whole, I think Streamy is an incredibly well-made and well-thought-out application. Kudos to the gang at Streamy for building a great tool. If you can finagle an invite to join the beta, I highly recommend it.

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