FriendFeed has unveiled a new beta that brings some rather drastic changes to its lifestreaming service. Users have always been able to import and share their activity from dozens of other communities and create content on the site. Now, FriendFeed is adding granular messaging features and the holy social grail: real-time, automatic updates.
Registered users can access this "live" new version at beta.friendfeed.com, and yes, we too hope that the drab grey background is FriendFeed’s 21st century version of the animated "under construction" GIF. If you subscribe to at least a few mildly active users, the most significant new feature of this beta should quickly become apparent: new updates will appear essentially in real time as you idle on the page, refresh-button-be-damned (this includes comments and posts marked with "likes"). If you follow quite a few users for whom "mildly active" is more of an insult than an understatement, however, this feature can become as much of a blessing as it is a curse.