Can a Web-based Twitter client do a better job than its downloadable stablemate? With Seesmic, it appears so. The new update to Seesmic Web does some handy thing that Seesmic's two download apps, for AIR and Windows, don't do.
Seesmic Web has a robust contact manager. You can see your followers and followees and people in your lists, drag users from one list to another, drag users from a time line into a list, or easily follow or unfollow users. You also get nice stats on people.
If you use Seesmic to reply to tweets, you can also see the conversation thread easily. Google Buzz and Friendfeed still handle conversations better, however. You also get some Tweetmeme-powered stats on links in Tweets, plus a quick excerpt of the text on the destination page, so you can get idea of where the link goes.
There are a few things that desktop client Twitter apps can do that Seesmic Web doesn't. For example, while Seesmic Web will let you upload an image (which then gets posted on a picture host), the AIR app of Seesmic will let you snap an image directly from your Web cam. The desktop clients also support multiple Twitter accounts; Seesmic Web is a single-account service. And competitor Tweetdeck, it should be noted, supports Facebook accounts in addition to Twitter.
Seesmic Web also doesn't give you a visual or audio cue when there are new tweets mentioning you. So narcissists or product marketers should stick to client apps. But it does put new tweets up on the screen without requiring a re-load, and it highlights them in yellow (which eventually fades out, Huffington Post-style).
Seesmic Web is a very attractive, highly functional, and very fluid Twitter client, even stacked up against pure downloadable apps. It's worth taking for a spin. The new version of Seesmic Web should be live later today.