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FriendFeed solves noise problem with redesign, duplicate roll-up

Social aggregator gets a big visual update, but the new de-duplicating feature might have a more powerful long-term impact on bringing down some of the noise.

On Thursday afternoon social aggregator FriendFeed pushed out its new look to all its users.

Several things have changed since the company launched its beta program late last month, with the biggest being the look and feel of the site, including a change in navigation from the top of the page to the left side. The heart of the service still lies in linking up various sites you use, but as part of the re-design the FriendFeed post box was also given an overhaul with the inclusion of photo hosting.

The biggest change besides the look is one of the most subtle, and smartest. It now figures out when your friends have posted the same item and will link them together. This serves two purposes: one to keep you from seeing the same thing multiple times, and another to condense conversation into one feed item that you don't have to hunt down. A big problem before this was completely missing related items your friends might have liked or discussed. The new system simply brings all of that together in one place and puts the latest items on the very top.

If there's another item that's somehow related to something that's shared FriendFeed will do its best to let you know. Multiple related entries are sorted by the time they were posted, letting you read through them like a stream of news. CNET Networks

One thing to note is that, which served as the test bed for the new design will no longer be any different from the regular FriendFeed. Site founder Paul Bucheit tells me they may use it once again to test new features, but for the time being it will simply re-direct.