Starting off with Disqus, somehow I did not notice this service over the past few months, and now that I have, I gladly welcome it. The service integrates easily with your Blogger template, and allows a more extensive commenting system than the standard Blogger interface provides. With more control over who can post, the ability to reply to specific comments, and a cool new look, I believe the new comment system is here to stay. The next feature, Google's "Rebuzz" button, was recently released as the first official Buzz button for websites. Everybody has long known and used the Tweetmeme "Retweet" buttons, and Google decided to implement its own version. Unfortunately, the integration experience with the Buzz button was not as pleasant as Disqus, using about an hour of my time attempting to find exactly where in the HTML to place the button where it would float correctly with the post titles. Try it out, "rebuzz" some posts.
Finally, the last, and probably the more important and exciting, feature is Twitter's @Anywhere. The feature recently went live, and is Twitter latest competition with the ever-expanding Facebook Connect. To explain it briefly, you place a few lines of script on your website, and bam! Anything that looks remotely like a valid Twitter username has a hover box that appears when you hover over it. For example, if I type @louisgray or @holdenpage, try hovering over the linked text (don't click!). Furthermore, you might notice the "Follow @Parent5446 on Twitter" button in the bottom-right corner of your screen. This was a little more tricky, as I had to use custom HTML to put the button at the bottom of the screen, but anybody with basic CSS experience could do it. As with Facebook Connect, the new service includes login capabilities that can be integrated with actual Twitter applications. But the most exciting part of @Anywhere is not what features it provides, but the possible effects on Twitter's influence in the blogosphere.
Third-party developers have been constantly expanding the world of Twitter. With 105 million users, and 300 thousand more every day, this is rightly so. The @Anywhere platform is simply another extension of the Twitter platform that developers can use to create even crazier applications than are already on the market. The advantage that @Anywhere has over Facebook Connect is Twitter's public nature. Usernames and profiles in Twitter are normally visible to the world, so @Anywhere can provide services such as username linkification or the hover boxes on this site. These features could not be used in Facebook, where a public link would not sit well outside the walled gardens. With new integration features, expect to see Twitter making its way deeper into the social media world.
If anybody has any other suggestions for how I could improve the technical aspect (or appearance) of this blog, please comment. Actually, if you have any comments on this blog, suggestions, anything, everybody is welcome to leave their suggestions.