Chrome web app: Twimbow

The Chrome Web Store is full of links to web apps that run on pretty much any modern browser. Installing the free Web Store entry for these apps usually just throws a cute little icon onto your new tab screen in Chrome browser and Chrome OS. But I won’t let the lack of exclusive Chrome app content and of any recognizable modifications to the browser hold me back from covering my latest favorite web app, Twimbow. After all, installing with Chrome does provide version tracking and desktop notifications.

Twimbow is yet another Twitter client that provides a column layout for organizing your feed (like TweetDeck) and allows color coding of people you follow (like Twicca). But hang on; don’t dismiss this HTML5 CSS3 and Javascript browser app just yet. Twimbow combines some of the coolest features of existing Twitter clients and throws in some new flavor to mix things up. The result is a sleek, convenient, fast, and sexy Twitter app that doesn’t even require Flash. Also, did I mention how pretty it is?

After receiving an invitation to the private beta (follow @Twimbow to be eligible for their DM invites) tapping that little tw icon launches a very colorful and pleasing interface consisting of three columns. You cannot add, delete, or rearrange columns; rather, the app is designed to get as much as possible from this simple layout.

The far right column is for searches. The middle column is your standard home feed where you see tweets from everyone you follow. Users can be assigned identifying colors here for easy group set up. The left column, called Personal Buzz, is where you can get creative with the feed, toggling tweet types on and off using a series of buttons at the top of the column. The categories available for inclusion/exclusion are your outgoing tweets, @replies to you, Direct Messages out/in (separate controls), retweeted by you, retweeted of you, and favorites.

At the bottom of the screen is a strip called the Monitor, which can be expanded, revealing any people or searches you have added via the Monitor icon that is scattered throughout the app. Once a TweetDeck fanatic like myself gets used to the interface, it becomes clear that Twimbow has everything a Twitter addict needs and more. Perhaps most interesting (and brilliant on the marketing front) are those features exclusive to Twimbow clients.

If I want to color my text, I can select a color box in the new tweet window, as seen above. I can also manually enter colors with hash tags. For example, #blue, #red, and #green. Other, stranger hash tags are out there, like #rainbow and #angrybirds. Inserting these tags will fill your tweets with cute, clickable little graphics. Below, I clicked the #angrybirds image and was rewarded with a music player with the Angry Birds theme all cued up and ready to go. If I had been viewing the tweet in another client, like TweetDeck, I would simply see the unclickable tag, #angrybirds. The #rainbow tag, by the way, links to Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

But there’s more music to rock out to in Twimbow; you don’t need to settle for songs from mobile games and old films. When you start a new tweet, simply select the music button on the left, under the link (with shortening) and image buttons.

Search for the track you want and insert it. The resulting tweet will feature a little note icon (for Twimbow users anyway) and clicking it opens up the same music player:

Twimbow allows you to view the profiles of user and their lists of friends and followers in list and grid views:

Twimbow offers other features, like changing the font size of the client, and you can even read some links in the built-in reader. One feature I would like to see is a mute button that appears on hovering over any icon. I would love to be able to mute multiple users or even everyone assigned to a specific color. EDIT: Muting users is easy. Every time you assign a color to a user, a checkbox with that color background appears at the top of the Home column. Uncheck it, and IDs assigned to that color are removed from the feed. Simple, fast muting of groups and individuals. Nice.

While still in beta and not perfect, this Twitter client showcases some great ideas and beautiful graphics. If you can get yourself an invite, I highly recommend taking this one for a spin. If not, at least now you know why I’m tweeting such odd hash tags.

Hit up the Twimbow blog for more information.

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