We first wrote about FriendFeed working a new Really Simple Syndication (RSS) supplement that it was calling Simple Update Protocol (SUP) earlier this year. The idea was to speed up the way new content is pulled into the social aggregator. Today, FriendFeed has announced several updates to its SUP support.
Services now using SUP on FriendFeed include Disqus, Brightkite, Identi.ca, BackType and 12seconds. “Whenever one of these feeds is updated, the new entry appears on FriendFeed within seconds,” FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit wrote today in a blog post. Normally, non-SUP updates can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, Buccheit explained.
I’ve definitely noticed speed increases when it comes to certain service imports over the past several weeks on FriendFeed — and yes, Brightkite and 12seconds were two of them. The speed at which I’ve seen them pulled in really is just about instantaneous.
Incidentally, I’ve also noticed that Twitter, the service that was previously the fastest to get imported thanks to its XMPP support (which also provides near-real-time updates), has slowed down substantially in recent weeks. You’ll note that Twitter is not among the services listed with SUP support, and it’s not clear if the so-called “firehose” of XMPP data has been turned off or is just wonky. I have an email in to FriendFeed asking about this.
Update: Buchheit tells me that Twitter should still be fast, but that they will look into any issues I see in the future on that end. Perhaps I’m just noticing it being slower when compared to the SUP results I’ve been seeing. He also notes that SUP support for Twitter would be nice, but XMPP generally works well enough — though SUP could also work on private feeds, which XMPP cannot.
FriendFeed has also launched some other resources to help users better understand and use SUP. There’s a FAQ, a SUP validator, an RSS/Atom feed tester and the public SUP feed. These tools will help more services implement SUP support on FriendFeed and in turn will make that service more useful as a hub of social web data and conversation.
Update 2: FriendFeed’s Benjamin Golub has made a video showing SUP’s speed. Find it below.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMXU5N6TfS0&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6%5D