Update: The official beta is now available for download.
Yesterday we reported that TweetDeck for Google Android would be available this week. Today it is… kind of. A pre-release build leaked out, and a number of folks have grabbed the installer file and taken it for a test drive. It actually works pretty well, but TweetDeck CEO Iain Dodsworth says the build floating around right now is actually an older version — and that the real beta will be available tomorrow.
He recommends avoiding the old build that’s making the rounds today. But I decided to ignore his advice and take a quick look. The app seems to work pretty well, and has one of TweetDeck’s signature features: The ability to create custom columns. Say you want to keep track on the latest tweets from the public timeline about Google Android. Just hit the search button, enter “Android,” and click the “Add column” button at the bottom of the screen.
While you can display multiple columns side-by-side on the desktop software though, the mobile version of TweetDeck lets you switch between columns by swiping left or right. Only one column shows up at a time.
The default columns show your personal timeline, @replies, and direct messages. You can use TweetDeck for Android to keep up with your Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, and Foursquare contacts. Each service is color-coded, so that, for instance, Twitter updates have a gray background while Facebook updates show up on a blue background.
Another killer feature? The ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts.
You can click on any message for more information, allowing you to favorite a message, retweet, reply, comment, or like — depending on the social networking service. You can also click on a contact’s picture to bring up their profile. You can open links shared by your contacts in a web browser by clicking on them.
The current build is still a little buggy. For instance, there’s no obvious way to return to the account screen after you login for the first time — meaning that if you want to add a new Facebook, Twitter, or other account after your initial login, you may be out of luck. But I suspect the official beta due out tomorrow will address that issue.