While both are web services, each offers an API that lets third parties build on top of them, including desktop applications. Twhirl, recently acquired by Seesmic, has emerged as the leading desktop client for Twitter, and Alert Thingy launched days ago on the newly released FriendFeed API. Both are built on the Adobe AIR platform.
Yesterday, though, the two desktop clients started to compete with each other directly when Alert Thingy added support for Twitter as well. And even though I am an investor in Twhirl, I said I may uninstall it for good once a few more features were added to Alert Thingy. There is no reason to have both installed once they overlap completely.
Today, though, Twhirl hit back by adding FriendFeed support, including the ability to search, lookup users, write comments and bookmark items. The new version, 0.7.9, is available now here and will be pushed generally to users in a few days.
Due to the conflict I won’t editorialize further on Twhirl. Users who want a desktop application for both Twitter and FriendFeed should test both applications out for themselves to decide which one is best for them. The good news for all of us: competition, even in this very niche market, is forcing rapid innovation.