Wowd’s Facebook Client Lets Users Refine Their News Feed

Wowd, a free real-time search client, now allows users to connect to their Facebook account in order to browse and interact with custom feeds based on time, content type, keyword search, or specific friends.

The downloadable client runs a local server off the host’s computer, so while Wowd utilizes a web browser for interface, a user’s private data never leaves their machine. Wowd plans to monetize this fuller-featured version of Facebook’s often overlooked friend lists by running ads based on terms popular in the posts of a user’s network.

Backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, KPG Ventures and the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund, Wowd released its web search and history client in October of 2009. These tabs, which showed top 20 lists of links in certain interest categories and let users tag and search their history, are today joined by a social tab housing the Facebook integration where users can like and comment on stories and update their status using a basic publisher. Wowd social is more customizable than Seesmic’s Facebook interface, but doesn’t offer access to events and messages like Microsoft Silverlight 4 Client for Facebook

Once a user installs the client and allows Wowd access to all their Facebook data, they’re prompted to create a “Favorite Friends” list using the multi-friend selector. The Wowd social home page lets users see a news feed tag cloud, view rankings of their most active friends, and refine their news feed by friend list or custom feed, date range, and content type.

For instance, a user could create special views of their news feed by selecting the automatically generated “Infrequent Posters” list, “Most Recent” time parameter, and video content type, or build a  “Photographers” custom feed showing the most relevant photos posted in the last month by a few shutter-happy friends.

Feeds can be further refined using the search bar to only return posts including a specific keyword, and any search can be saved as a custom feed. Users add friends and keywords they want stories to include, and can set up desktop alerts for when new posts come into the custom feed.

Wowd’s surveys and interviews of Facebook users showed that many wanted a better way to conceal application spam. Instead of hiding items post by post or from certain applications like on Facebook, all application-based stories are filtered into a Spam feed. This removes feed clutter while retaining a quick way of checking for anything interesting.

Graphically unique is the My Wall Summary, which turns a user’s profile into a bulletin board of thumb tacked photographs, sticky notes of popular terms, an upcoming birthday list, and a notebook page of wall posts and tagged status updates. Viewing familiar content in a new design is fun, but My Wall isn’t clickable or customizable, making it more of a novelty.

Wowd is a smooth-running utility for Facebook power users who want more control over their news feed or the ability to make custom feeds by combining search with other parameters. However, many of Wowd’s features are available through Facebook’s native search and friend lists, and the rest could be replicated in the forthcoming friend lists revamp. We’ll be covering how it does in the coming months.