Bar Wars – time to plug in the realtime (Update)
Since getting my G1 a couple of months back, I hardly ever visited the Blogs and Newspapers I read at that time. Not because I stopped reading them, but because mobile feedreader are much more practical (!) and aesthetic (!) then almost all of their desktop counterparts. So when I visited thenextweb.com today, I was mildly suprised to find a custom toolbar at the bottom of their site very much like the one seen on Mashable.
After a bit of firebugging I found out, that they are using wibiyas wibar. While wibar comes packed with customizable features it misses the one crucial application: the (asynchronous) real time web. Of course you have real time notifications of the site owners tweets but that seems only to be useful for customers staying on the website. So up until now wibar seems to be not much more than a conduit toolbar only active on your site.
Mashables approach is totally different. They decided to use meebo bar (meeboim in the source code). For those who do not know meebo: Meebo is a webbased IM client able to connect to all major IM networks. Then they started Meebo Rooms and MeeboMe-Widgets. With meebo bar and targeted advertising they finally seem to have found a working business model. meebo bar is totally simplistic focusing on sharing and chatting only.
The third competitor in the race to bring the real time web to your site is tweetboard. It „is a fun and engaging micro-forum type application for your website [and] also a powerful viral tool that engages your website visitors.“ This is – of course – done via Twitter. Similar to Disqus, sharing in tweetboard happens naturally. Both services have also in common that discussion happens asynchronously with a tendency to real time.
While none of the three approaces appear to be perfect I think they are just the tip of the iceberg showing what is about to come. The question is not wether this will be the next „big thing“ but when. But I guess sites like ReadWriteWeb will soon catch up and add their own Side-, Tool-, SiteBars.
Update: The Social Media Management Suite Hootsuite has also released their own bar: owl.ly Social Bar.