Posts Tagged ‘Web2.0’
Cuil, a new search engine from the start-up Cuil, Inc., has big plans to compete with the likes of Google. Cuil co-founder, Anna Patterson, says Cuil will be capable of searching across 120 billion Web pages, vs. Google’s estimated 40 million.
“In addition to looking at the popularity of a Web page, Cuil also analyzes the concepts on the page and their relationships — grouping similar results under different menus. A Cuil search for “Bruce Springsteen,” for example, pulls up a section for results on the artist and a section for results pertaining to tickets.
A search on Google for “Bruce Springsteen” pulls up similar results — including the same homepage and some fan pages — but displays them in one long list of links.”
I gave Cuil a test-run by searching for “French bulldog”. (Currently, there are no ads as the company is determining whether to sell space or work with a third party.) So for now, my results appear clearly, ad-free. The results show:
- content appearing in 3 columns, but can be changed to 2 (lower-right hand corner)
- paragraph descriptions of sites including small images
- and, where Cuil differs most from Google? It organizes results into potentially user-relevant categories. Since I searched for “French bulldogs”, I am shown 6 categories, ranging from Bulldog Breeds to Kennel Clubs. Each category also shows sub-categories.
see WSJ.com for full article
- are magazine junkies (like myself) – Perhaps you can’t give up any more space in your office/home/bathroom to another stack and it pains you to toss out your 2005 VOGUE collection. Though the physical experience of reading a magazine is lost, Mygazines.com offers the content, including ads (benefit to advertisers!)
- work in advertising, marketing, media, etc – though the quality isn’t perfect, this might be a handy tool for quick competitor reference (if you work in print)
Basic features of Mygazines include:
- browse – choose from 17 categories (arts & culture, home & garden, travel, etc.) And, for specific titles, try searching the sub-categories.
- upload – not necessary in order to browse, but helpful for sharing purposes
- archive – save an article, entire magazine, or bookmark (Del.icio.us, Digg, Technorati, etc.) However, there seems to be a bug with the saving option. At least, that is my user experience thus far.
When reading a story, actions you can take:
- zoom (only once)
I’m using Mygazines.com on Firefox and the magazines pop up in a new window. Zooming is helpful, though sometimes it isn’t the best quality (even when enlarging text, it’s fuzzy). Depending on how careful users are when uploading magazines, the pages may or may not be cut off a bit (or crooked). One very smart feature is the “pages” option, which can be found on the right vertical toolbar, third icon down (specific direction for those of you, like my dear mother, who have difficulty turning on a laptop). “Pages” allows you to go straight to the articles you want to see, versus paging through the entire magazine including ads.
In reference to legality, PSFK writes that though it’s questionable, there is potential. “Mygazines could really provide a useful alternative outlet for publishers looking to reach more readers. When it’s free, your’e going to attract an audience.”
Overall, in my second day of browsing, Mygazines feels useful and fairly user-friendly. As far as the experience goes, it may greatly differ for users who are looking for visual stories (fashion/design inspiration) versus those needing a financial reference in a cut-and-dry article. But, you be the judge, as always.
Four days ago I wrote about RCRD LBL, the new online record label/music blog. At that time, there were 1,405 RCRD LBL fans on Facebook. Today I see it has risen to 1,453 fans. That doesn’t seem too shabby for only four days. Meanwhile, the number of bookmarking actions to del.icio.us has only increased by 11. Does anyone know how many users are on del.icio.us compared to Facebook? My assumption is that Facebook is much, much more widely used.
It looks like RCRD LBL posts each week’s featured downloads on Fridays. The past week’s list of 29 songs can be found here. Reviewing what I’ve downloaded, here are some numbers and lists (which may or may not be of interest):
1. # of featured songs I’ve downloaded in the last four days: 8, which = 29.6% of weekly list
2. # of total songs I’ve downloaded in the last four days: 17
3. featured songs I really like: “Paper Float (Scott Through Remix)” by Cassettes Won’t Listen. There’s something very dreamy and moody about this song that just makes the tune unique. “Talk To Me (Devlin and Darko remix feat EMarce)” by MINK. It’s quite upbeat, and, as Faith-Ann Young writes, “is that a cowbell I hear?”. Sure sounds like it around 30 seconds in!
Other new favorites of mine not from the featured download list:
1. “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. I think I read somewhere that he isn’t referencing a lost love, contrary to what you’re conditioned to think when you hear a song like this with the word “love” in the title.
2. “Fake Baby” by Bad Veins. What is the meaning of “I’ve got you, fake baby”? Hmm…still thinking about this one…
3. “Gold and Warm” by Bad Veins. Feel-good tune to rock out to when you’re in a great mood and can’t stop smiling like the goofball that you know you are.
4. “Pro Nails (Big Raiders Remix)” by Kid Sister feat. Kanye West. Gotta appreciate the line “always fresh like my Girbauds”, right?
5. “Control – Metro Station Remix” by Steve Aoki. This song will make you want to loose control, at the club…on a table; it’s pretty damn crazy. In a good way.
These are my weekly picks. From angsty rock, to trippy rap, to frenetic electronica…a nice reflection of the variety that awaits discovery, like fat juicy bugs underneath a rock. Mmm. Thanks RCRD LBL.
Here is something that has gotten me quite excited: RCRD LBL. They are an “online record label releasing exclusive and completely free music from emerging and established artists” but also offers a “curated roster of independent record labels offering free MP3 downloads and multimedia content in blog format”. (It is also worth mentioning that the founders are Peter Rojas of Gizmodo and Engadget and Josh Deutsch of Downtown Records.)
I’m not sure if it’s the crazy tempo of Steve Aoki’s remixed “Control” or my elatedness at finding a music site that is easy to look at, gives me fresh, emerging artists, AND free tunes…but I felt so compelled to share so please do yourself a favor (if you love music, discovery, and/or freebies) and poke around.
Here’re just a few things you can do at RCRD LBL.com:
1) Discover new music/artists – by name or genre. If you love someone, add them to your RSS feed to stay on top of their news.
2) Sample tunes via various players
3) Download music (not sure how this works for PCs, but my download became a Quicktime file. I simply dropped it into my iTunes player and was able to play from there. At first I got a bit nervous and agitated that I might have to play each mp3 alone in Quicktime, hah.)
4) Catalogue and track favorite RCRD LBL artists – you create a profile and any time you come across self-approved music, hit “add” to your list
5) Very smart – widget app to stay up-to-date on artist info, photos, tours, etc
Now what you can’t do (and what they should add, in my humble opinion):
1) Unless I’m blind, I don’t see genre listings for each artist. For example, if I’m listening to Bad Veins, nowhere does it tell me how RCRD LBL has classified it. This would be helpful because you can search tunes according to genre. The tag cloud here is varied, but I don’t see a connection between that and the individual artist ‘pages’ where you listen to their music.
2) RCRD LBL is not a social networking site, but because they allow you to create a profile, I am left wanting to connect with others, to see what they’re listening to (like Last.fm I suppose), but there is no ‘add user’ option. The main service of this site being to offer up new music by basically acting like one huge directory, it makes sense that they limit the user interaction. Or does it? If I’m looking at Pink Starr’s profile, what am I getting? Just a list. She can recommend other non-RCRD LBL artists, but can’t blog about them or her other musical tastes.
3) Again, maybe this is somewhere and I have yet to find it, but, I would find RCRD LBL a bit more useful if they offered a player that tracked all of your favorite songs as you played them (again, like Last.fm?), even though you can download and keep for yourself. For example, what if you wanted to download a song but couldn’t at the time (i.e., you’re not using your computer, time ran out, lurking co-worker popped by?), so you can add the song to your ‘player of favorites’ to download later.
Other notes of interest:
1. According to del.icio.us, only 857 users (on del.icio.us) have saved RCRD LBL, though I’m sure this is fast landing on the radar of many as I write.
2. Last week I became a fan of RCRD LBL on Facebook. Currently, there are 1,405 fans.
3. RCRD LBL only launched in November (11.15.07) so I am sure their user/fan-base will shoot up over the year. Interestingly, RCRD LBL sees revenue strictly via its advertising and sponsorships (remember, it’s an online record label, not just a source spewing new music for us to immediately sample).
4. Various streaming music players are branded by the likes of BMW, PUMA, Nokia, and Nikon. These players = widgets. Clever. (because it’s useful for us and useful for the brand sponsors) Just click “grab this” and choose where you want the widget to live.
For an in-depth perspective from, and on RCRD LBL, see PSFK’s interview with co-founder Peter Rojas.