In early December, TweetDeck launched one of the most popular apps on the new Chrome web store – a web-based version of its popular AIR desktop app. Intended to compete with HootSuite in the browser, the Chrome TweetDeck app features many similar components of the desktop version, while running entirely within the Chrome browser. However, comparing Chrome TweetDeck to the popular HootSuite leaves much to be desired.

HootSuite has been a strong player in the Twitter aggregator market for a while now. The web-based app is well designed for any level of user, whether aspiring social media expert to a large and busy business with multiple Twitter accounts to manage. Multiple tabs allow HootSuite users to monitor different groups of streams in different tabs, which is useful for monitoring multiple Twitter accounts. HootSuite, also unlike Chrome TweetDeck, allows users to view conversations directly within the application – just click on the most recent reply to a thread, and each tweet within the conversation will appear below.

The new Chrome TweetDeck also lacks other, user-friendly features found in Hootsuite. Whereas Chrome TweetDeck does not remember columns if you leave the application, Hootsuite remembers the addition and placement of each list, or other type of search, should you sign out, or ever close your browser. Add to this the wait time for even a small set of lists to appear and you will find the Chrome TweetDeck configuration far less productive than HootSuite or the TweetDeck AIR app. Also, Hootsuite features themes for a more enjoyable user experience. (TweetDeck notably has customizable themes in the desktop version, but not in the Chrome web app.) And if you’ve gotten used to unpacking a bit.ly link before you visit, that doesn’t appear to work in the Chrome version either.

HootSuite is also a much better choice for Twitter users who work or live with dual-monitor configurations, as HootSuite seamlessly stretches across multiple monitors (see image below). The Chrome TweetDeck app does not seem to inherently know where the screen breaks, leaving a single column, and the update window, stretched across both monitors. The lack of thought into and development of this aspect of the design by TweetDeck is indicative of the oversights that are apparent in the lack of other usability features throughout Chrome TweetDeck. Chrome TweetDeck may be a good start for TweetDeck users switching between multiple machines, but Hootsuite is the better choice for Twitter users looking for a web-based Twitter aggregator.

One thing TweetDeck does get right is quick updates to your search queries, giving you a stock ticker-like experience as you watch your searches and columns roll by on screen. Unfortunately, this one speedy feature isn’t enough to make me want to use Chrome TweetDeck

Have you tried the new Chrome Tweetdeck? Is it lacking, or is it just me?