Glass. How to make sharing more contextual.

Well at least that’s what I think it does. When I first read about this Firefox/Chrome plugin I thought it would be something similar to Weblin, a service I blogged about in 2007. Luckily it’s not the same. For one Weblin wasn’t as cool and interesting as I first thought and is in de deadpool by now and Glass has a different offering so let’s give that a try.

“Glass is a browser add-on that lets you share experiences and not just content. We’ve created a virtual sheet of Glass that lies over the entire internet that’s yours to affect. You can share your thoughts about anything on the web, right in the moment, by literally placing notes, (highlighting text, and even placing pictures and videos – to come soon) on top of any website and share those thoughts with only those you choose. We let you share the moment and thought together as an experience.”

I’m not sure actually if it has a benefit to share websites/comments the way Glass wants you to, but I got to have some friends on Glass first to figure that one out :) See it in action:

Glass is still in beta (invitation only) but I could still use the invitation code offered by The Next Web in their post about Glass so can you (code = thenextweb). If that doesn’t work anymore, I have 5 invites left so give me a shout if you need one of those.

That way we can both find out if this is a keeper or not.

The point cloud

This is so cool, it’s not the first time I’ve written about Photosynth but while I was playing with this new Silverlight viewer for Photosynth I got a little into this ‘point cloud’ views and again, must say that this really is awesome.

So I’m looking at this Photosynth (196 photos and 98% synthy – so a good one) and look at one of the photos in the collection:

synth1

We’ve all seen that right? ;) Then if we press ‘P’ we switch the viewer to this point cloud mode resulting in:

synth

And that – and this is the really cool part – will enable you to look at these objects from an angle that you actually don’t have photos of like this:

synth3

Yes Photosynth remains one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Go check it out for yourself.

Live Mesh in Paris

Okay so you already know that the Blue Monster is coming to Paris, now I’m also happy to announce that Live Mesh is coming to LeWeb in Paris as well next week. And with a twist:

“We’re pleased to announce that to celebrate LeWeb’08 and Microsoft’s official partnership with the event, we are providing attendees exclusive access to 30GB of free Live Mesh online storage.  To claim your 30GB storage on Live Mesh please stop by the Live Mesh booth in the Microsoft zone and register with either myself (James Senior), Angus Logan or Jeff Hansen.

Attendees will also be getting exclusive access to Live Mesh for Windows Mobile and Mac, again stop by the booth for more info.”

meshparis

Yet another reason to come and see us at the Microsoft booth thanks to the guys from Live Mesh!

WorldWide Telescope at TED

Yes, what made Scoble cry. Yesterday this project from Microsoft research was presented (as expected) at TED and a lot faster than usual, the video is already online. This was the first I got to see about the WorldWide Telescope as well and I must admit it looks stunning indeed. It’s quite fascinating to see someone move into the dark universe to end up zoom in on some star or other… pretty cool. Can’t wait to get my hands on this, might have to pull some strings when it goes in closed beta soon.

But first check out the TED video:

wwtelescope.jpg

Improving online video

I’m not such a big fan of predictions like we see them all over on the web at the start of the New Year. There are a few good ones like those of John Batelle for instance, but other than that many predictions sound more like acknowledgement of something that’s already happening today or a wish-list for something we would like to see happen.

One good example is mobile for instance. It’s going to be the year of mobile since 2005 I think and as I said before, 2008 is not going to be the year of mobile either. Or talk about video, I had a discussion with someone recently about online video after a statement that 2008 would be the year online video will get big. That’s just not true, 2007 was that year already. As a counter argument I did say I believe 2008 will be the year in which online video will become more useful, of better quality, with better metrics, better advertising, … you name it.

And that’s what is happening today indeed. Yesterday Read/Write Web reported on the launch of Dailymotion HD upload & playback, including automatic bandwidth detection which allows easy switching to lower quality versions. Check out the HD example in their post. Now I can see how HD quality might not be on top of everybody’s wish-list for online video, but I do believe it’s a must have for future development of online video.

About a week ago, MIT AdverLab reported on a new innovative technology related to video advertising. The technology developed in Microsoft’s AdCenter Labs included tools for content analysis and speech recognition for advanced contextual advertising. (again disclaimer: Microsoft is my employer). Definitely take a look at the video below to get an idea of what they exactly mean with that:

Now as I am in advertising, I’m interested in this but not only for advertising purposes. If you watched the video you will understand that there are also opportunities for websites for instance to relate archived content to in-video content (think news sites) or how the technology can create automatic chapters in a video for more useful video browsing for instance. There are quite a few exciting technology usages you can think of with this new development.

A last improvement will be about making video more searchable. The technology mentioned before will definitely be able to help in that area, but quite a few startups are working in that area as well. A few weeks ago at the LIFT Venture Night we saw Viewdle showing off their approach on this, including face recogniation etc. Neat stuff as well.

Content analysis, speech recognition, chaptering, contextual advertising and content (based on the video – not on title or tags), HD, … Yes, online video is big already, 2008 will be the year in which it will get better.