What you see above is an embed of a special page on FriendFeed tracking discussion of tonight’s presidential debate. The page updates dynamically, meaning no page refreshes are necessary, using similar “long polling” code that makes instant messaging on web pages (see Meebo, eBuddy) work properly.
Friendfeed implemented the new feature tonight. Users can choose to view most of their FriendFeed pages in real time, including topical based pages.
Combining the long polling, real time view of pages and the embed feature also just happens to be a really excellent live blogging tool. Bloggers can leverage FriendFeed’s infrastructure during high traffic events like Apple product announcement and just embed the stream onto their blogs. Later, if they want, they can copy and past the content directly onto their blog for archiving and SEO. There are lots of other live blogging tools out there that do similar things, but they tend to…fail…badly…during big events. FriendFeed has been stable since launching, and seem to understand how to build a service that doesn’t go down.
Robert Scoble says “This is wild. It’s like the web has been turned into a chat room,” and I agree.