Tapbots, the developers behind the fantastic Tweetbot for Twitter, has released Netbot, an app for the fledgling Twitter-like social networking service App.net. Netbot, which looks, works, and feels exactly like Tweetbot, debuted in the App Store today and costs $4.99 each for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad versions.
If you’re not sure what App.net is, it’s pretty much just like Twitter but is ad-free and more developer-friendly. Twitter has taken a lot of heat recently following some decisions that restrict the abilities of developers to build software and tools for the service and for its apparent end goal to ensure a consistent look and user experience on all platforms, which means that third-party clients and services that don’t comply with this vision could go the way of the dodo. Plus, Twitter is working on bringing in revenue through advertising via sponsored tweets, which means your Twitter timeline could soon be cluttered with ads whether you like it or not.
App.net was created earlier this year by Dalton Caldwell, an entrepreneur and developer who believed that there was room in the market for a real-time social networking service that would focus on developers and users rather than pleasing companies who want to advertise to its user base. Those who want to step away from Twitter’s ham-fisted tactics and avoid seeing any advertising can join App.net for just $5 per month or $36 year.
App.net does let you get a little more loquacious in your “tweets” by allowing 256 characters in a post, compared to the 140 allowed with Twitter. So far, the App.net community is very small comparatively with around 20,000 members. It’s hard to predict whether App.net will make it to the big time but it’s an alternative if you like Twitter but don’t want to be forced to see ads in your timeline. You can find more information about App.net and join here.
Getting back to Netbot, it looks and acts just like Tweetbot for the most part, even featuring the blue Tweetbot icon in the how-to screens you see when you first open it. You can view your own App.net timeline or look at the Global Stream, if your timeline–like mine– is a little sparse given the small number of users. If you’re not ready to jump into App.net head first and abandon Twitter altogether, you can easily (at least theoretically since this hasn’t worked for me yet) post everything you write on App.net to Twitter by tapping on the navigation bar at the top of the Post view in the iPhone version and on your avatar in the iPad version.
Features in Tweetbot like direct messaging and push notifications aren’t yet available in Netbot but Tapbots notes promises they’re coming as soon as the appropriate APIs are in place.
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