In case I’ve lost you, here’s some history. Once upon a time a company called 37Signals made a big splash on the web by creating fantastically useful yet gorgeously simple web applications. Then one day they announced a new chat applications. Thay were a bit coy about the whole thing, but they had done great stuff in the past, and we trusted them.
So, what’s different about this? Bear in mind this is just what I’ve gleaned from the sceenshot.
Secondly, lots of whitespace. Yes, I know it’s been said many times before (too many to find a definitive link, unfortunately), but it bears repeating: Users Like Their Own Space. And the 37Signals boys are pretty much the masters of showing loads of information without it looking like they are showing loads of information. The highlighting of your own posts is a nice touch as well.
Thirdly, guest logins. Presumably this is going to be another subscription application, but we all know that giving a little bit of something away for free can often lead to much greater sales. People like to have their worries put to rest, and having a play with something is the best way to make it more friendly.
Fourthly, individual URLs. Clever and useful.
Anyway, there’s probably lots more, but I’m too tired to think straight. There’s one last thing I want to say, specifically to the 37Signals guys: give us a job :0)