Twingly: "Um...what?"

The Twingly screensaver displays a host of new blog posts from around the world, mapped by their geographical location. It's a fascinating concept, but the results are completely random.

Twingly logo (Credit: Primelabs AB)

There are countless blogs across the world, but you can't read them all, of course. With the screensaver application Twingly, however, you can at least see every new blog post as it gets published...sort of. While Twingly appears to be a fascinating application, you may soon be overwhelmed by the random collection of nonsense and trivia--the "Um ... what?" post referenced in my title is a good example.

Twingly, which runs as a Windows screensaver or a standalone application, displays a never-ending string of new blog posts mapped around the world on an interactive globe. Click on any of the scrolling posts on the left side, and a precis of the post and its geographical location (if mapped) are displayed in the main interface. Click on the link in the blog excerpt, and you'll be transported to that page in your default browser.

The software is a product of the Swedish company Primelabs, and much of the information about Twingly--including the FAQ--is in Swedish, so details about the software are hard to find in English. For example, the Twingly download site says that Microsoft .NET may be required. "May"?

Twingly interface

You can zoom in and out or stop rotation of the globe with keyboard shortcuts.

(Credit: CNET Networks)

It's also not clear how Twingly is collecting all of these blog posts. My guess is that it's using traditional outlets--such as LiveJournal and Blogger--and supplementing those with submission from its Pingus service, a trackback-style system that lets blogs and sources link together.

A large number of the blog posts that I viewed on Twingly were from the online-diary site LiveJournal, and the posts are definitely skewed toward North America and Europe. I used Twingly for quite a while today, and while the number of blog posts increased rapidly by tens of thousands in that time, not a one was located in South America or Africa, and only a handful from Asia and the Middle East.

Twingly has quite a cool interface, and the app worked very well for me. You can use keyboard commands or the mouse to navigate the globe, zoom in, or hide elements of the interface. The screensaver is particularly nice because it allows you all of the functionality of the main application.

As a screensaver novelty, Twingly looks cool and works adequately. A lack of a filter or categories/channels make it unlikely that any readers will use it to discover blog posts on a specific topic, but it's definitely a fun way to browse new amateur content on the Web at large.

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