The battle between desktop notification tools continues. AlertThingy, one such tool with a knack for aggregating a handful of social networks, has released a third version that takes direct aim at competitor TweetDeck.
Just this past month we heralded TweetDeck as an innovator in the space for splitting notifications up into their own columns. While TweetDeck retrieves notifications only from Twitter, you can break up items into their own categories, such as all tweets, replies, groups, and search results. The categorization helps you stay on top of what would otherwise be one massive stream of information overload.
While not ripping off this aspect of TweetDeck completely, AlertThingy now also allows users to “expand” their stream of notifications into columns. AlertThingy is essentially an aggregator of disparate services, so it breaks each supported service — not each type of data pulled from Twitter — into its own column (although, as with TweetDeck, you can set up a separate column with Twitter search results). You can have all your friends’ Facebook statuses in one column, their Twitter updates in another, and their Yammer messages in yet a third. Since AlertThingy also supports RSS, you can create a column for each of your favorite blog feeds as well, turning AlertThingy into a messaging-system-cum-blog-reader.
In addition to the new expanded mode, AlertThingy has added support for six more services: Ping.fm, Basecamp, Huddle, TwitPic, TwitterSearch, and Yammer. That makes for a total of 13 services, which already included Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Jaiku, TinyURL, Tumblr, and Twitter. A variety of other incremental improvements have been made, such as improved automatic URL conversion via TinyURL and better memory usage.