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Summary:

I’ve long been looking for a Windows-based Twitter client that can delight me as much as its native Mac counterparts. Too many clients for Windows depend on Adobe AIR, something which isn’t an ideal arrangement, in my opinion. TweetDeck and Seesmic are both powerful tools, but […]

I’ve long been looking for a Windows-based Twitter client that can delight me as much as its native Mac counterparts. Too many clients for Windows depend on Adobe AIR, something which isn’t an ideal arrangement, in my opinion. TweetDeck and Seesmic are both powerful tools, but why can’t someone make a Windows-native app that works just as well?

Seesmic apparently saw the wisdom in that idea, because it recently revealed a new Windows-only Twitter client that doesn’t require AIR to run. I jumped at the chance to take the software, which is currently only available as a preview edition, for a test run.

Feature-rich

Seesmic for Windows has just about every bell and whistle I could ask for in a professional Twitter client, but without a lot of the unnecessary frills that I feel get thrown in with something like TweetDeck. It seems closer to Tweetie for Mac, which is still my favorite client, independent of platform concerns.

You can use multiple accounts, and customize your columns in the main window however you like. By default, your Home feed will display tweets from all the accounts you have registered with Seesmic, which is a great thing for people who use different Twitter accounts to organize the people they follow, like groups. For those who don’t, Seesmic includes support for Twitter lists, so that you can organize those you follow that way instead.

My personal favorite feature of Seesmic is how the compose window uses your first-entered account by default. That means regardless of what post I reply to, and in what stream I find it, the reply originates from my main account. This is ideal for me because it’s my primary publishing identity, while the others are mostly for monitoring.

Searches can be initiated at any time using a field intuitively placed at the top right-hand corner of the Seesmic window, but I couldn’t find any way to find trending topics. While I don’t generally have cause to check the trends, not having the ability to do so does rankle a bit.

Good-looking and Functional

This is the best-looking Twitter app I’ve seen on Windows, and possibly one of the best-looking Windows apps I’ve seen, period. Especially using a dark-tinted Windows 7 glass visual theme, it just looks designed to fit its surroundings, which is more than I can say for any AIR application.

The tabbed sidebar and light-colored stream backgrounds make it a very usable interface, in addition to helping with aesthetic effect. I would appreciate an option to turn on color-coding for @ mentions or conversations between two people you follow, but with columns designed for the purpose, I guess the Seesmic team figures that isn’t necessary.

Advanced controls for each tweet can be brought up by hovering over a user’s portrait, or by right-clicking on any individual post, so you have options in terms of replying or retweeting. You can also create user lists on the fly from anyone in your stream, or add people to existing lists, which makes it very easy to create functional groups quickly. You can even drag a user’s profile pic to the group of your choice to add them to it.

If there was a feature I’m missing most with Seesmic, it’s the ability to follow/unfollow people from within the client. It’s something I use regularly with my iPhone Twitter clients, and something I enjoy being able to do at a moment’s notice without visiting the web-based interface for Twitter.com.

Client of Choice for Windows

I won’t mince words: Seesmic’s dedicated Windows app has become my go-to software for using Twitter on a PC, even though bugs are present in the preview version. It’s just that good, and it’s not Adobe AIR. In fact, it might be reason enough for me to spend a little less time in OS X, and a little more time working in Windows 7. I’ll stress the might in that last statement, though. If you want a copy, for now you have to sign up for the Seesmic newsletter at Seesmic.com, but turnaround time for a download link seems to be less than a day for most.

Have you tried Seesmic for Windows? Let us know what you think of it below.

  1. But Seesmic is actually built on AIR.

    It even says so on their webpage, when you go to install (Mac + PC, Built with Adobe AIR).

    It’s still a good twitter client that I enjoy, but yes, it is still built in AIR.

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  2. Gregory Pittman Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Roger, the new Seesmic Desktop for Windows is a native Windows app not built on AIR. It’s only available as a beta right now, so Seesmic’s website wouldn’t yet list it as one of their available apps. The Seesmic Desktop that’s been around for several months is built on AIR.

    Darrell must have a different version that I downloaded because the one I downloaded was more feature-stripped than full-featured. No “in reply to” tags in replies (that’s a very important part of a tweet) and no notification system built in yet. And while you can have columns based on your Twitter lists, they don’t auto-update. Only my main column auto-updated.

    So while I will very likely switch to Seesmic Desktop for Windows later, right now it’s too immature to be of any use.

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    1. I stand corrected then. :)

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    2. Agreed. Seesmic for Windows is beautiful, but still missing a lot of features.

      Oddly enough, my program of choice right now is sobees. It’s a bit buggy, but has all of the features I need and runs in a very clean interface. I’m amazed it’s not getting more press.
      http://www.sobees.com/download-sobees-lite

      I wrote quite a comparison yesterday of all of the major apps. Similar thoughts, but a different conclusion:
      http://www.mickmel.com/blog/200911/the-perfect-twitter-client/

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    3. keep our eyes peeled on it… given the speed with which the seesmic team works… (even being french) it’ll have new features within a week…

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  3. Why the lack of love for Adobe AIR?

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    1. Because every app that I’ve tried that uses it is a bloated resource hog…

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  4. My experience so far is similar to Greg’s above – downloaded yesterday, looks very promising, no notifications yet, would be nice to be able to resize columns. Currently using Tweetdeck as well. I haven’t had the issues that others seem to be having with AIR – but I could see switching to Seesmic/Windows fulltime.

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  5. I was disappointed with the new Seesmic for windows it lacks a lot.
    So I am back to the old Version of Seesmic desktop, which is cool
    until thay make a version that is really an improvement.

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  6. thank you for this great review, we’re very happy your first impressions are so good. We are going to release updates to Seesmic for Windows on a very fast pace and it will catchup and exceed very soon our current Seesmic Desktop in features.

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    1. I´m impress with the preview of this app Loic. I can´t wait for the full version!

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  7. So if Adobe fixes the memory issues with Air, does that mean you’ll switch back to an Air based client if it matches/exceeds Seesmic on features?

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    1. Adobe?… fix something?… respond to user input? surely you jest…

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      1. ah, indeed, he must be jesting. ;-)

        AIR 1.0 was something new — using webdev techniques to create desktop applications for Mac/Win/Lin, with privileges (storage, interapp communication, notifications) beyond those in browsers. A new endeavor.

        AIR 2.0 builds upon this beachhead, adding additional beyond-the-browser features, while optimizing the 1.0 experience. Memory & performance still require developer attention, but the architecture now makes this easier.

        (I ignored Simon on the first go-round, because such whinging seems a major contributor to the “bloat and performance problems” of modern weblogs…. ;-)

        jd/adobe

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  8. Couldn’t get it to run on XP here at work… is that right?

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  9. I just downloaded seesmic for windows and it doesn’t seem to work right on Windows 7.

    The home timeline only includes my tweets… nothing from the people I follow. One of my lists does display properly, but not the other.

    Ah well, ’tis a beta I guess.

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    1. I have the same problem. Worked great for a couple days then it quit. Went back to the Air app until they release a more stable version.

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  10. [...] have released a variety of popular Twitter clients for the desktop, mobile and the Web. Last month Seesmic launched a native Windows client which was demo’d on stage by CEO Loic LeMeur at Microsoft’s [...]

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