Kiwi: Another Mac Twitter Client Joins the Fray

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Perhaps you’ve grown tired of Tweetie, Twitterific or Socialite. Before you resort to Adobe AIR apps like Seesmic and TweetDeck, give Kiwi, the new kid on the block, a try. Fans of customizable third-party clients for other social services like Adium will probably find something to love in this fresh-faced addition to the Mac’s Twitter options.

Kiwi comes with a number of theme customization options pre-installed, and being primarily utilitarian in my own tastes when it comes to Twitter, I’m not sure what else you could ask for. For those with more imagination and a thirst for variety, though, you can download countless more themes from the web.

You can also customize the toolbar that appears above your time line in the client window, just like you can with Firefox. It’s a neat feature, but so far, there aren’t enough options to choose from to make this worthwhile. It could prove useful later, depending on how Twitter’s growth plays out feature-wise.

Kiwi is simple, in terms of functions, which makes it an appealing choice for the casual Twitter user. You get one window, with your basic time line, and icons across the top allow you to switch the view to @ mentions or DMs. Clicking on a tweet brings up a conversation view, and clicking on a user’s icon shows that person’s time line.

Retweeting uses the new API, and there’s no option to switch to old-school RT or “via” style quotes. Users new to the service, or those who like Twitter’s official implementation, might enjoy this, but it’s a deal-breaker for me. Nor am I crazy about the way Kiwi handles account switching (click on your own profile icon and choose from a drop-down list) but at least multiple-account support is present. It seems to take up a bit more memory than Tweetie, too.

Twitter search is easily accessed by typing a keyword into the bottom field and pressing enter. Once you activate a search, a Loop icon appears where your account picture is usually found, and the results are displayed in the main time line. Going back to your accounts is as simple as clicking on the Loop and switching back, or using the menu or Kiwi’s keyboard shortcuts. It’s a clean and efficient way of managing many functions from a single, convenient location.

Kiwi is free to try, but it’ll cost you $14.95 to unlock the full version. Check it out if you’re looking for something simple, yet customizable and unique. I’d definitely recommend it for new users looking to transition smoothly from the web interface to a desktop solution.

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