Streamreaders just keep getting better and better. A new version of TweetDeck is rolling out today with some major improvements, including support for Lists, Retweets, maps for geo-tagged messages, and LinkedIn streams. TweetDeck has already been downloaded more than 10 million times, and its active user base is in the low millions so this is a significant update.
As soon as Twitter launched Lists (the ability to create and follow groups) as a regular feature, all the stream readers rushed to incorporate it. TweetDeck already let you create Groups in separate columns, and is now replacing that with Twitter Lists. Existing TweetDeck Groups will still work, but from now on when you create a new group it will be via the official List functionality and available for all other Twitter users to see if you choose to make it public. You can also export your old groups as a List.
TweetDeck, however, goes beyond simply letting you add Lists as columns. You can edit lists in a pop-up lightbox, weeding out people from other people’s lists or using existing lists as the basis for entirely new ones. There is even a suggested users feature which suggests people to add to a list you are creating based on the existing members of the list you are starting with, as well as the name and the description. This is a first step towards creating dynamic lists.
The one issue TweetDeck (and all desktop Twitter clients) will run into with lists is that they eat up the allotted API calls for each client. Since there are so many users in each list, sometimes hundreds, and lists update with each of their Tweets, it goes through the allowed number of updates pretty quickly. Web-based stream readers such as Seesmic Web don’t run into this issue because they are all centralized on one server rather than making millions of separate API calls from each downloaded client (Seesmic’s desktop apps,however, currently do run into the issue).
TweetDeck handles Retweets really nicely as well. There’s been some confusion about how Twitter handles Retweets because people you don’t know all of a sudden appear in your main Twitter stream. TweetDeck alleviates this confusion by showing two small, overlapping avatars of both the person being retweeted and of the person doing the retweeting. It also lets you choose whether you want to retweet the new way or the old way, by editing first and then retweeting.
For all the Tweets that now have geolocation enabled, TweetDeck shows a small red drop at the bottom. When you click on it, a Yahoo map comes up showing the location. This is quickly becoming a standard feature.
Finally, TweetDeck is adding LinkedIn streams via LinkedIn’s new APIs. In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, you can now have a LinkedIn column as well. One stream reader to rule them all.
Here’s a video showing off some of the new features: