I’m not sure what Streamy is, but it’s not FriendFeed

Social something site Streamy is getting a lot of attention online this week with many predicting that it’s the next FriendFeed…in a good way. It’s not.

In explaining Streamy it’s best to start with a description of the service, but actually coming up with a description was only the beginning of my confusion. It’s not helped that Streamy doesn’t offer an about page, and instead offers a video explaining what the service does…except that the video shows the various features without properly describing what the product itself is meant to do as a whole. The front page uses the 2.0 buzz words “Read, Share and Discuss” then quotes a TechCrunch article saying how awesome it is.

I’m going to call it a social aggregator, because that is the closest model Streamy touches on. From within Streamy you can follow and interact with external services, including Twitter, Facebook and even FriendFeed itself. Indeed the FriendFeed interface is Streamy is better visually than the actual FriendFeed interface, although given the monstrosity of the last FriendFeed upgrade that achievement wasn’t particularly hard to achieve.

Then we have RSS. Well, I think it’s RSS, least it allowed me to import my feeds from Google Reader. But then Streamy offers pre-sorted content in categories; I’m not sure where this content comes from, and can only guess that it is listed due to some sort of user ranking system. Annoyingly though you can’t get rid of it; you can exclude content from certain sites in the “home” view, but you can’t exclude content within a category, or exclude the category itself. Some of the categories include Health Medical and Politics, neither of which I have any interest in.

The article reading interface isn’t great. Instead of the ability Google Reader style to be able to list items or view them in full down the page, to view an item in Streamy you have to click on it to get a popup. The popup is also the only way to share items as well; so each sharing step requires two clicks, not one.

But wait, there’s more! Streamy also offers Meebo style aggregated chat, and supports GTalk, AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSNWindowsBing whatever Microsoft is calling its chat service today Live.

Next on the list is “people.” This is something close to a FriendFeed experience….or maybe not. You can leave status messages, and your friends appear on a list showing what they’re doing, for example Louis Gray is reading SocialGeeks. The stream though doesn’t aggregate in other items. The process of importing and finding friends is also woeful; despite happily supporting my FriendFeed account, it shows up blank for FriendFeed friends. When you do get a list of friends (it matched my Facebook account list), the only way to follow them is one person at a time, with no option to follow all.

Before this post gets way more out of control, it should probably be noted that if Streamy sounds a mouthful, that would be because it is.

There are things to like in Streamy, but it never seems to master any of its various features. I’m still not quite sure what Streamy is, but it’s definitely not FriendFeed.