Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FriendFeed Beta Help

Image representing FriendFeed as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

What’s new about the beta site?

The goal of the FriendFeed redesign was to simplify the FriendFeed experience and put greater focus on the things that users have found to be most valuable. Here are some things that you'll find in the new site:

  • Everything in FriendFeed is now in real-time. There’s no need for refreshing, and no longer a separate view for real-time entries.
  • Pictures! All the entries, no matter where they originated from, now have a consistent look, to help you focus on what your friends are sharing.
  • You can now send and receive direct messages. There’s even a new message indicator when you have new direct messages.
  • Rooms are now treated the same as individual users—they’re all feeds that you can subscribe to.
  • You can post entries to multiple feeds directly from the box at the top of your feed.
  • There are filters and saved search filters so you don’t miss a post from a certain friend or an entry about a specific topic.
  • And keyboard shortcuts for the most common commands!
How do I access the beta site?

Visit You can go back and forth between this and the existing site The beta site may also work on mobile browsers, but we're working on developing an updated version for the mobile interface.

Can anyone use the beta site right now?

Yes! If you have a FriendFeed account, just point your browser to If you don’t have an account, sign up now.

When will this go out of beta?

They are putting this redesign on the beta site in order to gather your feedback and make improvements and fixes. They plan to switch the new design over to as soon as they can. You can help them make it better before they do with your suggestions and your bug reports. And They are pretty sure we’ll come out of beta before Gmail does.

Where did my rooms go?

Rooms are now just feeds you can subscribe to. All the rooms you belonged to are listed in your Subscriptions box. You can create new feeds by clicking on the “Create a feed” link.

How do I designate which feeds show up in my subscriptions box?

Just click on “edit” in the orange bar of your Subscriptions box and choose the friends and feeds you’d like to see. By default, they show the people and groups you interact with most frequently.

What happened to all the website icons?

There are now profile pictures on every entry, to keep the look of FriendFeed consistent, and to help keep the focus on what’s being shared and who’s doing the sharing. Entries that were pulled in automatically from other services still have a link to that service just after the timestamp. From a user’s feed or hover profile card, you can see the sites that the user automatically shares from.

What are the different feed options?

With feeds, there are no more rooms to join. You can subscribe to the public ones, or put them in a friend list, or just visit them to read the posts.

When creating a new feed, you can choose between having a private group, a standard feed, or a public group. These options replicate the old options for rooms, when you could make a public, semi-public, or private room. All the management capabilities remain unchanged.

A private group can be ideal for private sharing among collaborators, such as coworkers or a family planning a trip. You can also use these types of feeds for things you’re following that you don’t want displayed publicly in your list of subscriptions, such as an RSS feed of deal alerts. Private group feeds also don’t show up in any public searches.

Standard feeds are just like other public feeds in FriendFeed, except they can have multiple authors. They’re publicly searchable. An organization can use them to publish their stories or press releases, and a user can create one that’s about a specific topic that they don’t necessarily want to flood their main feed’s subscribers with.

Anyone can post messages or comment on public groups. They show up in public searches and they’re ideal for topics that you want to discuss with anyone, such as basketball or politics. They’re also great for events, such as Macworld.

What are filters?

Filters let you hone in on something specific in your feed. Create a filter by clicking on “edit” in the green bar of your Filters box. You can filter by person, keywords, and a variety of other options, and even save the filter for easy access. While doing a search from the search box at the top of your feed, you can also save that search as a filter by clicking on “make a filter” in the red bar atop the search results. We also display your friends lists in the Filters box.

How do I send a direct message?

Just start typing the name in the “To:” box. You can send direct messages to multiple people at the same time, and you can even post the same thing to your feed or any other feed. Everyone in the “To” box will be able to see and comment on that entry. Make sure you’ve deleted “My feed” in the “To” box to ensure that a direct message is sent only to the intended recipients. When you have new messages or comments on your direct messages, the new message count will be bolded in your Filters box.

Can I control who is allowed to send me a direct message?

Right now, only people who are subscribed to you can send you a direct message. If you’ve blocked someone, they will not be able to send you a direct message. We’re planning on adding more options and this is an area we’re still actively working to improve. Let us know your feedback here.

Thanks for adding descriptions to the profiles. What’s the character limit?

One of our best features yet! 161 characters for all!

What keyboard shortcuts are available?

p - post message (place focus in text box)

P - post message (place focus in "To" box)

/ - place focus in search box

esc - remove focus from any text box

gh - go to your home feed

We plan to add more keyboard shortcuts soon!

How do I find the permalink for an entry?

Click on the timestamp (even we can’t remember how to find the permalink sometimes).

Where are the imaginary friends?

You'll continue to get updates from the imaginary friends that you've created in the existing site. To create a new one on the beta site, just "Create a feed". To keep your imaginary friend private, you want to select the "Private group" option. You can also make your imaginary friend visible to others if you create it as a "Standard feed". We have some plans for improving the imaginary friends feature, so it's very likely that they will change from the way they've been working in FriendFeed thus far.

How do I stop the real-time updates?

You can stop the real-time updating by clicking on the circular pause icon at the top of your feed. This permanently turns off the updating—even if you log out and log back in—until you press the play icon. In the meantime, you can still see updates by refreshing the page. There is a separate pause option for your home feed and any of your filters.

How will this affect the API and embeddable widgets?

We’re committed to making sure all the third-party tools will continue to work. If you see something not working, please report the bug.

I found a bug.

Let us know! We’re still fixing a lot of things, so thanks for your patience in the meantime.

I have feedback or a suggestion about the new beta site.

Great! Post your thoughts and comments in the FriendFeed Beta feed.

Check out FriendFeed Beta

Also check out the FriendFeed Beta FAQ

FriendFeed Beta FAQ

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