The Twitter/FriendFeed Connection Goes Realtime Once Again

Screen shot 2009-12-22 at 12.54.33 PMIt has been a sad few months on FriendFeed following their acquisition by Facebook. Despite assurances that FriendFeed would not die, activity has dwindled and many users have moved on. While the service was still working, there was a fairly major glitch that made it much less compelling: Tweets, the main source of content for FriendFeed, stopped coming in at realtime speeds, and instead were delayed by up to an hour. But today, finally, realtime tweets have been restored.

If you visit FriendFeed right now, you’ll notice that many tweets are coming in with about an 8 second delay. Some are delayed a little bit longer, but it’s infinitely better than the delay we’ve all endured for months now. And many of us have been complaining for months, wondering if the Facebook deal caused Twitter to pull FriendFeed’s firehose. What actually happened is that FriendFeed was apparently transitioning over to one of the newer Twitter data streams. At our Realtime CrunchUp last month, FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit indicated that they were close to implementing this new stream, but wouldn’t say what the hold up was.

But now Buchheit is telling our own Steve Gillmor that several days ago the two sides reached an oral agreement on the new stream. And today, he confirmed over Twitter that it is in place. Specifically, they are using the new “Birddog” stream API, Buchheit says. You can learn more about it here. “I hope to have it down to 1 sec sometime next month,” Buchheit says of the delay.

This is great news. I personally had all but stopped using FriendFeed because of this delay. While the service remains one of the best ways to filter and search tweets and other content in realtime, the delay rendered all that moot. Now it’s back, and so I’ll go back to using it. Hopefully others will follow.