Dipity, a timeline-based lifestreaming aggregator, has launched its 2.0 release to the public. The new release includes a variety of new social features that have turned Dipity into a viable alternative to FriendFeed and other lifestreaming services, as well as a replacement for standard RSS readers.
Dipity revolves around powerful timelines built in AJAX, which intuitively display content like blog posts, YouTube videos, and Flickr photos in small hovering rectangles that can be expanded. The site is very well designed, and while the timelines seem to lag occasionally when they refresh, they’re fun to play around with (and if you don’t like the timelines, there are a few alternative views).
The service itself should be familiar to anyone who has used FriendFeed, SocialThing!, or any number of similar sites. Users are asked to input their account credentials from services that include Flickr, Picassa, and Twitter, which are used to populate the timeline. Beyond these, Dipity allows users to automatically monitor keywords across services like Digg and YouTube (you can have new Obama videos automatically appear in your timeline), and RSS feeds.
The site also include standard networking features – you can become friends with other users on the service, follow your favorite members, and look at timelines that are public (the default setting) to see what your friends are up to.
Dipity originally launched last April, but Director of Products BK Gupta says that this was primarily a technology demo that the company used to test and flesh out its features. In the meantime, the site has produced a number of cool mashups incorporating its timelines, including a Digg timeline called Archaeologist and a similar product for YouTube (you can now incorporate both of these into your main Dipity feed using the keyword search).
My biggest concern about Dipity is whether or not it will be a practical place for users to carry out discussions around the items they share. FriendFeed isn’t popular because it looks especially attractive – it’s popular because it’s conducive to helping users participate in “the conversation”. That said, Dipity’s timelines are fun enough that the company may not even need to view itself as a direct competitor to FriendFeed. I may go to FriendFeed to talk about current events, but if I had to choose a widget to put on my blog, I’d probably go with Dipity.