Video chat startup Seesmic acquires Twitter client Twhirl

What did the one beta say to the other? Let's merge!

Seesmic ( review ), which is working towards the public release of its video nanoblogging and chat service, has acquired Twhirl, an AIR-based Twitter client. Twhirl is the most popular third-party client according to ReadWriteWeb, accounting for about 7% of messages sent on the service.

Meet Seesmic's new desktop client app.

Twhirl was developed by Marco Kaiser in Germany. It's the first AIR app he wrote, and he did it as a side project. Kaiser will stay in Germany as a new employee of Seesmic. It's been a busy week for him, apparently: His wife also had a baby this week.

In my opinion, Twhirl ( review ) is the best way to use Twitter. But that position is hardly secure. Heavy Twitter users are fickle and often switch apps when newer and better ones come along. I say that based on experience as well as observation.

But Twhirl is several steps ahead of the competition. It already cross-posts to Twitter-alikes Pownce and Jaiku, and Kaiser was already working on integration with Seesmic when that comany's founder, Loic Le Meur, approached him with the acquisition offer. (See Le Meur's blog post regarding the acquisition.)

Kaiser's app will now evolve into Seesmic's official desktop client, and the first Seesmic-enabled version of it will ship in two to three weeks, Le Meur told me. Seesmic, which is still in private beta, will open up to public access before that version of Twhirl becomes available.

Twhirl will continue to support Twitter, and Le Meur has no plans to add text nanoblogging to Seesmic. His service is all about video, he says.

Seesmic's video service is often compared to Twitter since it encourages short-form back-and-forth commentary, as Twitter does, and its social architecture is similar: You "follow" people whose results you want to see, and they can follow you back. That should make the mechanics of using one client to access both Twitter and Seesmic at least potentially workable; but we'll have to see how well it operates in practice.

Despite Twhirl's importance in the Twitter ecosystem, it is not a huge app by normal software standards: It's been downloaded only about 100,000 times since its first release, Le Meur said. Despite the buzz in and about Twitter, the nanoblog market is still very immature.

 

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