Are you using Twitter? Do you tweet or follow? Most Twitter users follow, rather than be followed. For Mac users who tweet, do you use the browser window to tweet?
Or, do you use a standalone Twitter app? Unfortunately, I use all three. Three? Twitter.com in Safari. Tweetie on Mac or iPhone. And, I’ve come to like Ostrich which is like a mini-Twitter app which resides in Safari.
Safari’s Wave Of Extensions
Apple did something crazy wonderful with the most recent Safari, version 5. Officially sanctioned Safari extensions; those little add-on utilities that provide additional function to the browsing experience.
Already a few sites have lists of Safari extensions. I’m up to half a dozen on my Mac.
So far, my favorite is an extension that is absolutely unnecessary because any Safari window or tab can open Twitter.com, but is fun to install, easy to use, and adds a handful of nifty features that make using Twitter and sharing links nothing more than a few clicks.
Ostrich is merely a fun Safari extension which brings Twitter functions to the browser window and toolbar.
If you thought your Mac’s Menubar was getting crowded with extra utilities, just wait until Safari’s extensions have been around a year or so. The Safari toolbar will be like a land rush.
Ostrich is a click away and gives you access to Twitter (alas, only one Twitter account at a time). View a page in Safari that you’d like to tweet about, and Ostrich does the dirty work, including shrinking the URL using bit.ly to save those all important characters.
Ostrich provides a character count, lets you tweet and drop in the URL of the page you’re viewing in Safari.
Wouldn’t that be enough considering that Ostrich is free? Wait. There’s more. If you install Ostrich today, you’ll also be able to reply and re-tweet and more with mere clicks.
It’s like having a very lean and clean and mean Twitter app that lives inside Safari. Click the Ostrich extension icon in the Safari Menubar and your Twitter stream appears, and even highlights those tweets which you haven’t seen.
Ostrich notifies you of new tweets, new mentions, and unread tweets, and they’re added to the Ostrich interface tabs (with notification badge).
Is there anything not to like about Ostrich? It’s free. It uses the officially sanctioned-by-Apple extension system in Safari. It’s a single Twitter account at a time, though, no multiples.
So far, I haven’t found a way to use Ostrich to tweet photos (the advantage of using Twitter.com in a browser, or a standalone Twitter app, or even a separate app to upload photos).
Installing Ostrich is a breeze, even for Safari extension newbies like me.
Download. Unzip. Double-click. Follow the directions.
You won’t even have to restart Safari and the new Extensions preference in Safari makes it easy to keep extensions updated with the latest version.
The use of Safari’s extension capability to perform what the browser already does, or what a standalone Mac app does better presents an interesting scenario. Will Safari become cluttered with a number of mini-apps that perform similar functions to other Mac apps?
Will there be a built-in Safari word processor? Or, a calculator? Or, a color widget? Or, a Flickr uploader? I like choice as much as the next girl, but do we need so many ways to do the same thing in a browser just because we can?