Desktop Twitter

This free desktop updater for Twitter, Twhirl, and others lets you spell check, shorten links, cross-post your status to a handful of social networks, reply to messages, and more.

Built on Adobe AIR, Twhirl is a stand-out desktop Twitter service that rolls the functionality of many ancillary services into one. For example, Twhirl automatically posts TinyURLs in place of long URLs, sends photos to TwitPic, and searches for Twitter topics using a built-in TweetScan engine. In the settings, you can configure Twhirl to cross-post updates to Jaiku and Pownce; it now also rolls in support for Ping.fm, itself a service that updates multiple social networks.

Twhirl's other goodies include spell check, improved search, and a Bit.ly link shortener. In addition, Seesmic users can record video, whereas previous versions of Twhirl only let you engage in video playback. A new option to have any search pop up with real-time updates is especially useful for Twitter newshounds keeping tabs on a heavily tweeted topic as it happens.

Though cheery, Twhirl's interface is also economical, providing extensive options for viewing and updating statuses and messages for all your accounts without overcrowding the small screen. The preferences let you customize your receipt of tweet alerts, the program font, and network pings, but not the app's skin. We'd like to see options for dark, sleek, and multicolored looks. Though we also approve of the quick icons (for sending messages and unfollowing a user) that you see when hovering over a contact's buddy icon, we're looking forward to blocking unwanted followers from Twhirl when Twitter releases that documentation for developers.

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