Readers might remember hearing about Threadsy last September, which is when the catch-all social aggregator first debuted. Its promise, which was made in a short demo at last year's TechCrunch50 conference, was that it would pull together correspondence from places like Twitter and Facebook alongside your Web mail from multiple providers. Eight months of beta testing later, it's finally open to the public. But has it been worth the wait?
Before answering that question, let's first take a look at the problem Threadsy is trying to solve. If you're the type of person who has a Twitter and Facebook account, as well as multiple e-mail accounts, you've probably got several tabs running throughout the day that keep these sites open. Threadsy's solution is to put all the messages from those places into one interface, which has been done with some elegance.
Social updates from Twitter and Facebook sit on the right of the page, where you can see the latest items from both networks mixed together. If a user has linked to a photo, Threadsy will give you a nice large preview. The same goes for linked audio files and updates from various Facebook applications.
Web mail has been handled with a similar level of simplicity. When first setting up the service, you give it access to your various e-mail accounts, which at least for Gmail, can be done without giving Threadsy any of your account credentials. Instead, you just authorize it to get access to those messages--just like enabling connections to your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Threadsy then blends together all the messages from your Web mail accounts along with direct messages in Twitter and Facebook into one big in-box.
Unfortunately, for all its simplicity, the universal mailbox breaks down in terms of how easy it is to create new messages compared to using each service's proper messaging client. Gmail, as well as Facebook's messaging service, offer really excellent auto-complete for contacts, but on Threadsy it's just not as good. In my testing it was able to pull up people I was Facebook friends with, but not frequently e-mailed family members. It was also unable to do its magic on last names, which may not seem like all that much of a hindrance, but it is. … Read more