Joshua Schachter is best known as the creator of Delicious. But a few years after he sold it to Yahoo in 2005, he left the company and joined Google. Since then, he’s been known to speak his mind about Delicious’ overall direction (which he doesn’t seem to like), and it’s pretty clear that he still has the desire to create. And that’s exactly what he did tonight, quietly launching a new service he’s developed called a tiny thread.
The idea is simple, take tweets and thread them together to form conversations, adding context. This works by using the a tiny thread site to both start new conversation threads, and add your comments to old ones. After authenticating via OAuth, your comment is then sent back to Twitter, with a link back to the a tiny thread conversation page.
The site’s look is sparse (not entirely unlike early Delicious), but it’s very easy to follow conversations. You can see a good example thread here. Right now, the threads only go one level deep, so it actually very much resembles a FriendFeed comment section. FriendFeed, was of course just bought today by Facebook, and its future is uncertain.
Other sites have attempted to thread tweets together in the past, but the results vary because of things like retweets that either break threads or add too much noise. Right now, it appears you can only add to these a tiny thread conversations on the site itself, so it works pretty well. But when you send the tweet back to Twitter, it just reads, “I joined a thread: is this thing on?” followed by a link to a tiny thread. It might be more interesting if it said what you actually said in the thread, enticing people to click on the link to read the full context.
It would seem that Schachter, who has been tweeting out links to this for about the past hour or so, did this on his own time, rather than his Google 20% time. Again, it’s extremely simple, but kind of interesting — especially in a post-FriendFeed acquisition world.