File Under: Social, UI/UX

Cliqset Cleans Up Streams, Integrates Twitter

Cliqset completed a significant upgrade to its social sharing website Wednesday.

The site now fully integrates Twitter, and it has refined its aggregation system so you get a much more streamlined, easy-to-digest view of your friends’ activities across multiple social sites.

There are literally dozens of changes, both visible and behind-the-scenes, in the new Cliqset. We’ve been testing out the new version (the company is half-jokingly calling it “Cliqset 2.0″) since midday Tuesday, and we’ve found the site has been given a significant boost that makes its aggregation features both more usable and more useful. The changes should be appearing for everyone on Cliqset sometime Wednesday morning.

Cliqset is a social network in itself, complete with followers, status updates and media sharing. But its sweet spot is as an aggregation service. It funnels all of the posts from the people you follow on the web into one single stream. It pulls in Twitter tweets, photos from your Flickr contacts, posts from your Tumblr network, updates from your friends on Facebook, Google Buzz, Yelp, YouTube, Google Reader — Cliqset connects to over 80 services in all.

It sounds, looks and works a lot like FriendFeed. But unlike FriendFeed, which was acquired by Facebook last year and has largely stagnated since, Cliqset continues to innovate.

Here’s one really cool new innovation: When you’re following somebody across multiple social networks and aggregating their posts in one place, you’re going to get a lot of duplicates. The new Cliqset filters out those dupes.

“If somebody’s on three different networks, we’ll know that,” Cliqset co-founder Darren Bounds tells Webmonkey. “We’ll consolidate their posts, de-duplicate the posts, refine them.”

When Bounds says “refine,” he means that Cliqset includes image thumbnails whenever a link to an image is passed along, or an embedded video player whenever someone shares a video. Each status update also gets its own permalink with a larger image or full-size video player, making it look more like a real blog post.

The new Twitter integration runs deep. Cliqset has always connected to Twitter, but now the company has re-written its API to connect directly with the Twitter API.

A persistent search in Cliqset: You get results from multiple sites like Delicious, Vimeo, Twitter and Google Reader all mixed together.

You can post updates, @replies, direct messages or messages to groups of Twitter users from a single text area at the top of the page. It’s just like composing an e-mail: You can address your tweet to as many different recipients as you want and add attachments.

Searching is enhanced as well. You can save persistent searches (which hit both the Twitter Search API and the entire Cliqset ecosystem) and filter the results.

Sure, there are already a handful of excellent desktop Twitter clients that do many of the same things. Cliqset even makes a social client for the desktop, which is being phased out.

Bounds says Cliqset isn’t trying to be just another conduit to Twitter.

“When you’re interacting with somebody here, there’s no differentiation as to whether this person is on Twitter or Cliqset or not,” he says. “We want to blur the line between what is Cliqset and what is the web.”

Indeed, you can use Cliqset to search for new people to follow, manage your lists of who you follow, and interact with others, all regardless of which social network they’re on. Since Cliqset connects to all the majors, it just adds them to your master list, and you see their updates mixed in with everyone else, from everywhere else. Comments and @replies blend together, more closely resembling a real-time chat.

“We don’t feel users should have to know or care about what service the people they want to interact with are on,” Bounds says.

This relaunch integrates Twitter, but Bounds says Facebook and Google Buzz are next on his short list.

“We really want an open, standards-based social web with total interoperability, a completely transparent, blended experience,” he says.

That’s a lofty goal, but it’s within reach, mostly thanks to the many emerging open standards on the social web. It’s here that Cliqset is going all-in, using several of these new protocols to connect everything.

Cliqset integrated Activity Streams in its last relaunch, and it republishes all the actions it aggregates in the Activity Streams format. In this version, Cliqset is using OAuth 2.0 to connect to Facebook and to Twitter. It has also implemented Salmon to publish comments and other interactions back to external services.

You can save customized, curated streams (I have two, named “Music” and “Web Dev”) within Cliqset where you can dump relevant tweets, links and blog posts. Cliqset takes that custom stream, generates an Atom version of it, and republishes it using PubSubHubbub. So, others can subscribe to those streams anywhere on the open web and get updates about those topics in real time.

Foursquare is now a supported service, and you can check in with Cliqset using HTML5 Geolocation through the browser.

To give the new Cliqset a try, head over and create an account. You can connect using Facebook and Twitter (both new options) or a Google or Yahoo account. Cliqset still supports OpenID, though this option isn’t exposed in the new-user sign-up dialog. They don’t want to scare anyone away, maybe? Once you’re logged in, you can connect almost every social web service to your Cliqset account.

If you’re not familiar with aggregators, or if you’re new to Cliqset, this video should help demystify the experience.

Cliqset: Getting started from cliqset on Vimeo.

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