Fresh Look, More Networks and Lots of New Features

Today we’re excited to release a new version of Alternion. We’ve been working on it for the past 4 months, so you’ll find quite a few new features. We’re also introducing a new look of the site that will make everything cleaner and easier to use. All these enhancements are another step towards our goal of creating an ultimate social aggregation and content discovery service.

If you visited Alternion during the last couple of weeks, you might have already noticed many of these improvements live in your news feed, profile and other pages as we have been gradually introducing new features to test them live and gather feedback.

We’ve been very busy with the development lately, but we promise to update our blog more frequently from now on :)

So, what improvements await you when you login to the new Alternion?

1. New Design

You can see many interface improvements in your news feed, profile, photos and videos of your contacts, email and direct messages, settings, and most of the other pages. Our first priority, since we started developing Alternion has been to keep everything very clean and easy to use. With the amount of new features and sections we’ve been adding recently, it made sense to rethink the layout.

We kept the general structure, but improved many navigation elements to make it easier for you to navigate between different filters and pages, as well as enrich your overall site experience.

2. Support for More Networks

We have added several new services, including YouTube, Digg, Google Reader Shared Items, 500px, SAPO Fotos, SAPO Videos, and Raptr.

The most notable new one is YouTube. Previously our integration with YouTube was limited to simply importing RSS feeds. Now we have implemented a much deeper integration. You can view activities and videos of your YouTube subscriptions, filter videos by channels, and view and manage a list of all your YouTube subscriptions. You can also watch, like/dislike, favorite and comment on full-size videos from your YouTube subscriptions, as well as subscribe and unsibscribe from YouTube channels directly from Alternion.

We also import your own YouTube activities and uploads (your favorites are coming soon). You can control who can see them on Alternion, same as with all other social networks which we support. We integrated YouTube via a secure OAuth protocol, so when you connect your YouTube account you’ll be redirected to Google for authorization and will not be entering your YouTube password on Alternion, same as with our integrations of other social networks via their APIs. Please note that if you connected YouTube earlier you will need to reconnect it again.

With these new additions you can now connect your accounts from 228 social networks. More network integration is in the works, including Google+, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, which are coming soon.

3. Lots of New Features and Sections

We have also released a lot of enhancements, many of which have been requested by you on our Facebook Page, Twitter, and Get Satisfaction support forum. Here are some highlights:

Support for Facebook and Twitter Lists

This was one of the most popular requests. The lists have been in our plans from the very beginning as we wanted to enable you to not only aggregate all the updates from your contacts on other networks, but to filter the noise that often comes with such aggregation. Earlier you were able to filter incoming feeds by networks, types of updates, and your contacts. Now you can also filter them with your Facebook and Twitter lists.

Soon we’ll be adding the ability to create and edit lists, and we surely want to add Google+ lists as well. At the moment, Google+ public API does not offer such functionality, but hopefully this feature will be supported soon.

Enhanced Contacts Section

This section includes Contacts People, Contacts Photos, and Contacts Videos. “Contacts” means all of your contacts from Facebook (including your Facebook lists), Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Alternion, as well as their latest updates.

You can easily filter photos, photo albums and videos by your contacts, as well as view and comment on your contacts’ full-size photos, albums, and videos directly on Alternion.

We’re working on further enhancements to these pages with the goal to make the Contacts section your full-featured social address book.

Photo Uploads to Alternion, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter

That’s right, you can now upload your photos simultaneously to any of your accounts on Alternion, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. We have implemented a multiple file uploader, so you can upload a batch of photos at once. As always, you have full-control of where your photos will be published and who can see them. We also plan to add support for several other photo sharing sites, as well as enable you to upload your videos to YouTube and other video sharing sites at once.

Explore Videos (and Coming Soon: Explore Photos)

What if you don’t have many social networking accounts and emails, or if you simply would like to find something outside of your circles of friends? We got you covered with our new Explore Videos section, which is designed for new content discovery. You can browse the best videos from YouTube (including most viewed, most popular, most liked, and other top YouTube videos), and filter these videos by category (comedy, music, etc), and date (today, this week, this month, all time). You can also see what’s trending in 25 countries around the globe, filter videos by channels, view channel info, and subscribe to YouTube channels. Found what you like? You can watch it instantly from the same page.

And we’re just getting started with the Explore sections. Soon you’ll be able to search all YouTube videos and channels, as well as search videos inside a particular channel. We’re also working on the Explore Photos page, which will feature the best public photos from Flickr and Picasa, as well as the ability to search photos and users from these services. In the future, we plan to expand the Explore sections to other types of content, so Alternion will become not only your social and email aggregator, but also your content discovery tool.

In all, we have implemented several hundred enhancements, interface tweaks and bug fixes, so you’ll find plenty of other improvements on the new Alternion. We’re still in the very beginning of our journey though. Many exciting things are ahead and we’re very thankful for all your valuable feedback and support.

Many of you have been asking when we will open the site to the public so you could share your Alternion profiles with your friends on other social networks. We’re working hard on that and are hoping to remove the private beta restriction in October. In the meantime, we have a nice gift for everybody who reads this blog and would like to get an Alternion account right this second :) You can now sign up with the beta invite code alternion, i.e. simply go to http://www.alternion.com/signup/alternion and create your Alternion account. But you should hurry! There are only 2,000 invites available at this time...

Please let us know what you think about the new design and features in the comments to this post or via our Contact page. We’ll be adding more cool features soon and we look forward to your feedback!