Nomee combines AIR with social information

Nomee offers some interesting social-aggregation features that might make some Adobe AIR users happy. But others might want to stay with FriendFeed.

Adobe AIR applications are typically well designed. They feature a sleek look and relatively fast response times. TweetDeck (Windows | Mac), a popular Adobe AIR app, has put the platform on the map. It has caused some developers to view AIR as a viable alternative platform to building a Web site.

Nomee (Windows|Mac), a company that helps users see what celebrities, prominent figures, or their friends are up to online, is one such app.

The basics
Nomee is based on "cards." When you first sign up for the site (you can use OpenID if you don't want to create unique Nomee credentials), you'll be presented with celebrities and prominent figures who currently have cards on the site. But before you start thinking that there are scores of celebs on Nomee, think again: for the most part, those cards were created by Nomee users, not the celebrities themselves.

When you view a card, it displays an image of the person, followed by several sites or services that are related to them. When you click on one of those services, you'll be brought to its respective Web page. For example, if you click on the Twitter logo on my card, you can view my Twitter page.

That's me on Nomee, even though I didn't create the page. (Credit: Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET)

If you like what you see, you can "add" the card to your Nomee Dashboard. From there, Nomee will track all the card updates. It will alert you when there's something new for you to check out.

Nomee's Newstream lets you view all the updates from every card you follow. Thanks to such a nice design and some filtering options, you shouldn't have any trouble finding exactly what you're looking for. It's arguably Nomee's best feature.

The Nomee Newstream in action. (Credit: Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET)

Card creation
Of course, Nomee isn't just a place where you can see what your favorite celebrities are up to. You can also create your own card to share with friends. Those same friends can create cards and share their social profiles and links with you.

According to Nomee, you can add profiles to your cards from more than 120 sites. They include Twitter, Facebook, Google News, Mahalo, StumbleUpon, Picasa, and more. The selection is quite nice. You can also add RSS feeds or links to your blogs.

Nomee provides a cover view to help you sift through all the sites you might belong to. Once you find the site you want, simply input the user name and you're all set. It will be added to your individual card. The process takes just seconds. And thanks to a nice design, it's quite intuitive.

Nomee doesn't just force you to create your own cards. The site allows you to create as many cards as you'd like on any topic you like. So if you're a fan of Robert DeNiro, you can add an image to his card, input links to some of his content (including YouTube videos, which can be viewed right in the app), and share that card with Nomee users.

It's about the sharing
If you really like some of the cards you're following and you think a friend would like them as well, you can share those cards with them. Once you do so, those cards will show up on their Nomee Dashboard.

But it's the ability to decide what to share that makes Nomee so valuable.

Let's say you're a 19-year-old college student who wants to share your card with your parents, but you don't want them to know about your Facebook profile. Nomee lets you decide which links in your card they can see. So when you're ready to share it, you need only to check the boxes next to the links you want to send to them, and you're all set. All other links won't be displayed. It's a great feature. It makes it quite easy share certain content with different groups of people.

Nomee also lets you update your Twitter feed. To do so, you'll need to view a tweet by someone you're following. Under his or her tweet, Nomee gives you the option to reply or retweet it. Similar to TweetDeck, Twitter displays Nomee as the source of your tweet on the site. You can't currently update your Facebook status from Nomee, but the company did tell me that that feature will be coming in the next version of the app. It didn't provide a release date.

One of the biggest issues with Nomee has nothing to do with the app itself. It's designed beautifully, it works well, and it might appeal to some who want a quick place to find all their friends' social profiles. But it's that third element that might hurt Nomee.

Nomee makes it easy to input profiles. (Credit: Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET)

When I used Nomee, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to sites like FriendFeed, which already help you monitor what your friends are up to across the Internet. Like Nomee, FriendFeed allows you to input all your profiles. It also updates you when friends change their status or update a profile. There's just two big differences between those services: FriendFeed is online and you can communicate with friends through the service. Nomee lacks both those key elements.

I brought this up in my meeting with Nomee on Wednesday. The company's spokesperson told me that the company believes that being offline helps it. He was also quick to point out that the ability to filter targeted content to others is a step up over FriendFeed or other similar competitors. Not being able to message other users wasn't considered a negative.

But perhaps the most compelling reason why Nomee thinks it has staying power in the crowded space is the upcoming release of an "Issues" feature. According to the company, users will soon be able to take on issues like health care and provide relevant links for others to learn more about them. It's the same premise as cards for people. Nomee believes that it will help it differentiate the product from sites like FriendFeed, since it can also be used as a learning platform. I tend to agree.

Bottom Line
Nomee is a well-designed social-aggregation app that does a fine job of keeping you updated about what your friends are doing. But until it adds that issues feature, it's debatable just how useful the app is. I really don't see myself using it all that often. I don't even see myself moving from FriendFeed to Nomee. It's a neat idea, but since it's tied to the desktop, it provides limited value to me.

If you want to take Nomee for a spin, you can download it here (Windows|Mac).