As good as the Twitter Web site is for updating everyone about the various happenings in your life, it's certainly not as handy as having some sort of application to do it for you. After all, we can access email in our Web browser, but having a desktop app is still a more streamlined experience. At the moment, the majority of decent Twitter apps are written for Adobe Air. But now, Seesmic has launched an early release of its new native Windows application.
Seesmic Desktop has two versions -- the older Air application was, without wishing to appear rude, horrific. Seesmic is also the company behind Twhirl, which is a much better application, but more useful if you only have a single account to manage and aren't bothered about seeing all your messages and @replies on a single screen.
The closest competitor to Seesmic is TweetDeck. So, which of the two do we prefer? Seesmic makes plenty of promises, and in practice could rid us of Adobe Air, which is very welcome indeed. The main problem with Air seems to be the same issue that blights Adobe's Flash -- it's susceptible to memory leak, which means, sooner or later, you'll find TweetDeck using 500MB of your precious RAM for no apparent reason.
That said, when we first started up both TweetDeck and Seesmic, the latter used more RAM. As time went on though, TweetDeck started hoovering up around 170MB, with Seesmic dropping to 140MB, sometimes less. Because Seesmic is a Windows application, it can also make use of the advanced graphics libraries that come with Vista and 7 -- expect semi-transparent edges and other whizzy effects. Even so, we don't think the app is as pretty as TweetDeck, which has a no-frills style, but maximises your screen real-estate.
Seesmic makes it easy to access your various user accounts too, but the tabs and lists on the left of the window take up too much space, which means you can't get as much in the rest of the screen as you can with TweetDeck. There's also a fair amount of repetition in the way you can see tweets from your various accounts, either in the 'all' tab or via the 'accounts' tab. Happily, there's also a tab for your user lists, which is a terrific idea for making the most of that feature.
So, what's the verdict?
Overall, we think Seesmic has a shedload of potential. We like the fact that it doesn't use Air, and we love the Aero look and feel that comes with a stand-alone Windows app. Our problem is, we prefer the layout and design of TweetDeck. So what's the solution? We think perhaps a standalone TweetDeck app might be what we're looking for. You can download Seesmic from its Web site now.