“The past five years or so have seen a massive proliferation of user-generated content,” says Bret Taylor, founder and CEO of FriendFeed. Tools that aggregate this information have been around for years, but so far they haven’t been very good at filtering useful content from less-useful content. “Our theory is that people you know are the best filters for information,” he says.
As Le Meur sees it, one of the keys to consolidating personal online communications is a programming standard called XMPP, an open platform that lets anyone develop instant-communication software. Google Talk, for instance, runs on XMPP, which allows it to be accessed in a number of different ways: in a Web browser, as downloadable software, and even via third-party chat-service aggregating software such as Adium.
Seesmic will support XMPP standard, which will enable Twhirl to distribute videos for the service at the speed of instant messaging. The simplicity and speed of Twhirl’s interface, Le Meur says, will make it fairly straightforward for users to post video, a task that most people currently see as too complex.
As with most new Web services and software, Seesmic’s immediate business goal with Twhirl is not to make money, but rather to make Seesmic’s distribution smoother. Le Meur says he just wants to sign up as many users as possible, then figure out how to make money on it.