File Under: Software & Tools

Cliqset Debuts a Desktop App for the Real-Time Web

Social aggregation service Cliqset has launched two new tools for tracking your friends’ activities on the bevy of social sites that make up the real-time web.

The company has released a desktop app for discovering shared items like status updates, photos or videos — and all the discussions related to those posts — across the dozens of sites Cliqset supports. Also announced Tuesday morning is Cliqset’s new social app for Boxee which lets you chat with your friends while you’re watching videos culled from around the web.

The Boxee app is cool, but the new desktop client is the bigger deal. It’s a slick application that improves upon similar apps already on the market, and we’d recommend you take it for a spin if you’re a social web power user.

Cliqset’s new desktop app is a lot like Tweetdeck, the popular app for following activity on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Like Tweetdeck and other aggregation apps like Seesmic Desktop, Cliqset’s app is build with AIR, Adobe’s platform based on Flash that runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.

But while Tweetdeck and other similar apps only pull status updates from Twitter and couple of other sites, Cliqset pulls all activities and updates from the bulk of the social web. You can see photos, videos, comments, likes, and ratings from Flickr, StumbleUpon, Picasa, Delicious and what have you — over 70 social websites are supported. You can cross-post to multiple services, filter posts by type and create custom groups to better track your friends. This brings Cliqset’s app very close to the web-based experience the company offers on its website.

Note: the AIR apps from the likes of Tweetdeck, Seesmic and Yammer are more mature, and thus more stable, than the beta Cliqset is releasing Tuesday. Expect hiccups.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Cliqset relaunched its website as a full-fledged aggregation hub, complete with a user interface that auto-refreshes as new items are shared, new statuses are posted or new comments are made across any of the social sites you belong to. It’s still in beta, but you can sign up for access. The site serves as a single point of entry into the real-time web, a model that’s become increasingly attractive as more of our online social activity moves onto services that provide instant access to information. Twitter and Facebook are some familiar examples, but Google is also getting into the real-time game with its new Wave collaboration tool and recent enhancements to Google Docs which allow groups to instantly share document updates more easily.

Cliqset is doing more than jumping on the real-time bandwagon here, though.

Much of the data flowing across the social web gets broadcast in code that doesn’t interact well with other services. This becomes a problem when a developer wants to create an app that pulls in data from multiple services. Cliqset’s platform — which both its website and the new desktop client take advantage of — actually re-writes much of that code in the Activity Streams format, an emerging standard data format for exchanging updates on the social web. So, Cliqset’s platform is actually picking up the streams of data from the social web and ensuring they’re well-formed before making them available freely to anyone.

The company has another advantage working for it, but it’s largely coincidental.

Much of the spotlight for real-time web aggregation in the past few months has been hogged, deservedly so, by FriendFeed. The service rocketed to popularity earlier this year before being purchased by Facebook. Facebook says it plans on keeping FriendFeed alive and humming as-is, but the service will most likely eventually be folded into Facebook’s experience and cease to exist as a stand-alone site.

There’s been much speculation about where fans of FriendFeed — who may or may not be fans of Facebook’s proprietary authentication system or its protective data-sharing policies — will go once FriendFeed disappears or becomes a less friendly place to share one’s social assets. Plaxo is one possible destination. Though we haven’t seen it, Threadsy appears to have promise.

Cliqset remains a very strong contender, and this desktop app should win the service some new fans.

We’re still waiting on native Cliqset apps for the iPhone and Android. When those arrive, which should be soon, we expect Cliqset to really take off.