Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mobile FriendFeed access - does this make FriendFeed the Twitter-killer?

One of the things that I like about Twitter is that I can access it on my mobile phone via the phone's web browser. While the m.twitter.com interface isn't perfect (there isn't a mobile equivalent for the "replies" and "direct messages" pages yet), you can do a heck of a lot with Twitter when you're not at a computer. And I'm not even talking about the people who access Twitter via SMS.

So, while FriendFeed is a wonderful aggregator, I knew that I couldn't switch to FriendFeed as my main social media access point because I'm on the mobile phone so much.

Enter MojiPage, an alpha service providing various widgets for mobile phone access to different services, including FriendFeed.

While the first iteration of MojiPage's FriendFeed widget was good, it didn't support the ability to comment on FriendFeed entries, or indicate that you like them.

While I was enjoying my gourmet lunch, I discovered that the "comment" and "like" items in MojiPage's FriendFeed widget are now operational. This was subsequently confirmed by a (pre-Disqus) comment to my blog.

Perhaps it's an exaggeration to say that this makes FriendFeed the Twitter-killer...or perhaps it isn't.

And, to be fair, FriendFeed doesn't want to be the Twitter-killer. This is what Paul Buchheit said:

It [makes] me kind of sad that new products are so often described as "gunning for" or "attacking" other vaguely related products. It completely ignores the fact that the new product might be cool, interesting, or innovative. Instead, the focus is on conflict.

Buchheit subsequently elaborated:

I think the "gunning for" aspect is hyped up my the media/blogs. When we were working I Gmail, I wasn't "gunning for" Hotmail, I just wanted to build a nice email client. FriendFeed isn't "gunning for" anything either. Obviously we pay some attention to potential competitors, but for the most part we just focus on trying to build something that people will like and find useful. Not everything has to be a zero-sum, kill-the-other-guy game.

However, as I noted, many number 2 companies motivate themselves by targeting number 1. This movieprop.com description of Steve Jobs in the 1970s and 1980s bears a resemblance to the reality of the time:

Steve [Jobs] is a charasmatic character that believes computers are as much things of art as of science. He goes from making computers in a garage to being head of a company determined to dethrone IBM from its position as leader of the computer world. To Steve, IBM is a dinosaur and people who wear suits have no place at his firm because they remind him of old coporate types like IBM employees.

John Sculley told a similar story in his autobiography. When he took Jobs out to IBM's sterile, small Armonk headquarters, it was actually an inspirational moment for Jobs, who wanted to show the Macintosh team just how unimpressive Big Blue's headquarters were.

So, whether FriendFeed is now the Twitter-killer, or just another application that co-exists in the mobile universe, it's still good news.

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