Brizzly: Taking Twitter To The Browser In Real-Time.

Brizzly

Yet another Twitter client?

Yeah, it seems to be. Aren’t we sick of hearing about the next version of Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop? First we had Twhirl, then came Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop, Destroy Twitter, Cotweets, PeopleBrowsr and other Twitter third-party desktop and web applications. So when I heard all the “hype” about Brizzly, I thought to myself what good is it?

Well first of all, you’re not really sure what Brizzly is just by visiting their main page. It’s just a sign up page where you can leave your email address to sign up for a invite code when one becomes available. However, once you do, you’ll see that it’s pretty much like Twitter’s website, but much more evolved. In fact, I’m seeing Brizzly as what Twitter should be using as a commercial account (absent any real analytics, of course).  To compare Brizzly to the rest of the Twitter clients out there, I’d say that Brizzly is basically CoTweets + FriendFeed + Seesmic Desktop groups & search mixed into one. Seems quite useful…

Brizzly Homepage Screenshot

Just looking at Brizzly makes it seem as it Twitter fully understands the real-time stream, but then you realize that Twitter isn’t running this site so it can be quite confusing. The timeline of tweets is entirely in real-time (or as real-time as you could get, similar to Twitter search). The main page on Brizzly also features trending topics and also the reason why that topic is trending, which I find pretty helpful once in a while. But perhaps one of the biggest things here is that Brizzly offers support for “embedding” multimedia into your tweets. No longer will you be required to post a multimedia tweet via a third-party like Twitpic or YFrog or even Zannel. It’s quite beneficial. An all-in-one type application.

For business users, you’re going to reap the rewards of using Brizzly simply by having the ability to tweet from up to five different Twitter accounts. If you’re a community manager, you’re going to be able to manage not only your personal account, but also the brand account and other ones you might need in your day-to-day monitoring duties.

The customization of the Brizzly homepage is somewhat lacking as it looks rather templated at this stage, but that’s not too bad. What’s confusing is that when you do sign up, you’re prompted to enter in a username which can be entirely different from your Twitter handle – is this something that should be synced up eventually? I’m really thinking that Brizzly is exactly what Seesmic Desktop’s browser version is, but with some features that would love to be incorporated. At first, I wasn’t really sure how to look at people’s profiles and it didn’t really seem intuitive, but after a while, you pretty much just poke around people’s avatars and hidden menus appear.

Brizzly Profile Screenshot

An example would be when I’m trying to look at the profile of a person who I’m following on Twitter. In the current Brizzly timeline, I click on their Twitter handle and I’m taken to their page on Twitter.com, not on Brizzly. It defeats the purpose of me staying on their website. But when I’m on Brizzly and hover over their avatar, a hidden menu appears and there is the person’s Twitter handle as a link. You click this one and you’re taken to that person’s profile on Brizzly. As you can tell, it gives untruncated content that you wouldn’t normally see in a Twitter profile (i.e. their URL) and also shows you some options, including this new one where you can “mute” them – presumably it’s to hide their tweets from your timeline without unfollowing them – a middle ground?

Brizzly Search Screenshot

Earlier on, I mentioned an improved search on Brizzly over what Twitter currently has. I think it has to do with the Trending Topic. Perhaps trademarked by Twitter, Brizzly has decided to headline it “Trends and News” and you can click on each of them and it will tell you why they are trending. For example, I clicked on the trend “#tpainbetter” and was given the explanation:

It’s a trend topic made by @myfaboulislife because Tpain took a shot at him and Jay-Z

If you clicked on the other topics like “President Obama’s”, I’m sure it would give you current events and news as to why it’s significant enough to be considered a trending topic. One wonders if this is controlled by humans or automated and the descriptions parsed from the various tweets. Maybe this will help to avoid having these trends be infected by spammers so people don’t mistakenly access them & be subjected to such rubbish.

You’re also able to save the search, which I found pretty helpful and even choose which person to follow if you’re not already. Brizzly also streams you the updates in real-time. Oh, and if you like what is being said, you’re also able to instantly retweet the original tweet – no longer will you need to copy and paste the original tweet into your text box and add the format “RT @name”…and this is available on all tweets you see throughout the entire site.

But where is the link f or the RSS feeds like you would have on Twitter and Twitter search? You’re able to do all these fancy things but there’s no link for RSS? Could it be that Brizzly also thinks that RSS is dead? And I guess that the next phase will also include a URL shortener? Because right now…I’m going to still have to go through bit.ly instead. Not cool.

So what’s the bottom line? I’d say that Brizzly is pretty cool to try out. There’s some customization that leaves me wanting, but definitely not a deal-breaker. Would love to have links for RSS feeds so that I can port it over to websites, blogs, widgets, etc. though. Compared to other apps that have come and gone, like Plurk or Pownce, all of which have relied on creating a competitor to Twitter, Brizzly has taken advantage of Twitter to make a browser for the app – especially helpful if people aren’t able to download desktop applications on their work computers.

Amazingly, I’m still interested in this experience that I’m having with Brizzly. Will we see more great things from this company? Perhaps the next evolution of Seesmic Desktop or Tweetdeck will mimic new features that already exist on Brizzly. Now that would be a good sign…imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery.

Special note of thanks to the awesome folks at lalawag for the invitation code to test out Brizzly. They’re some great people.