In an effort to make Twitter more multimedia friendly Embed.ly has unleashed it’s latest broswer extension, Parrotfish. The easy-to-download code allows media elements such as videos, photos, etc. to be viewed on Twitter rather than forcing the user to follow a link to an external site.
It avoid confusion it’s worth noting that Parrotfish is what Embed.ly has named their extension when it is combined with Twitter. Thus, the extension itself is embed.ly, but when combined with Twitter it somehow morphs into Parrotfish (a ploy on Hootsuite’s new Happy Owls game and/or the infamous Twitter bird perhaps?).
While Parrotfish is a step in the right direction for Twitter usability, it’s probably not going to lead the revolution. Third-party apps such as TweetDeck and HootSuite already offer their own variation of internal media viewing in a pop-up window interface. To bring the multimedia-viewing experience to Twitter.com Embed.ly partnered with a slew of multimedia providers under the slogan “one API to rule them all.”
While Parrotfish is extremely easy to set-up (and allows integration with Instapaper to save links) it’s reach is limited to the Twitter.com site itself and your browser of choice. While the extension may save you the time of waiting for an external site to load, it won’t save you the click to get there. In the screenshot below you’ll notice the media only appears after the user clicks the filmstrip-looking button to the right of a multimedia loaded tweet.
Ideally (for me at least) a real multimedia-on-Twitter advance would be to see the actual media elements in the Twitter stream. While Embed.ly’s one-click solution adds a splash of color to the overall user experience it does little for the drab, ink-stained train of thought that are Twitter streams.
In the end – even though I rarely log-in to Twitter.com proper – the 3 minutes I spent setting up the Embed.ly/Parrotfish extension was well worth it. Still want a little guidance? Makeuseofit.com has a great step-by-step how-to to get you started.
What tech contraptions should we check out next?