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.

Enhancing search

Just installed WebMynd Firefox extension today, based on the post about it on digital inspiration. I like what it does, when I search now I get some additional search results from other services right there next to the main results – like this:

webmynd

And yes I used a little vanity search as an example, you gotta use something right :). You can easily add other services you want to have in that right column, from the list of services available on top of it. Since you always get the additional WebMynd powered results when you do a search, you don’t have to go to another URL or anything, just using type the query in your browser’s search box and this is what you get. Very nice. Worth giving a try, as is Live Search by the way ;)

Update: There is an IE plugin for WebMynd as well, just open the browser of choice and you’ll get the right download option.

My mobile life

Sometimes I think I live on mobile. If there’s a device I really couldn’t miss it’s my mobile phone. Ask my wife, if on occasion I don’t take my mobile phone with me, she’ll wonder how it’s possible I forgot it. It’s just too odd for me to be without. According to my mom, it’ll grow on my ears one day. Whatever ;)

Anyway, it’s true that mobile is important for me, ever since I got my first mobile phone some 10 years ago. Every year I hope that mobile will really breakthrough, but unfortunately also this year won’t be the year of mobile, just like 2007, 2006 nor 2005 were the year of mobile. It’s that one prediction that I wish it were through, but you know it won’t be.

It’s not even in our hands. I think the devices are there, thinking of the N95, the iPhone and some Windows Mobile devices that are all capable of doing amazing things for such a small device. The iPhone has the interface to love, my HTC is less slick but comes with 3G, built in GPS and all the power of Office and Exchange on mobile. Or the N95 with it’s superb camera. And now I’m not mentioning a ton of other great features these phones have.

Apart from all that greatness, I’ve been a very active user of the mobile web for the last 6 years or so as well. First on WAP on my old Nokia 6310i for instance, later on Vodafone Live with a Sharp GX30. Back then I was still working on Kinepolis‘ new media strategy and we invested in this back then already. Today Kinepolis is still one of the very few Belgian companies with a decent mobile site, for which you got to give them credit. But even outside Belgium, there aren’t many mobile specific sites, which already resulted in a shout-out more than a year ago.

The mobile sites I currently use are: BBC, Bloglines, Gmail, Hotmail, Messenger, Dopplr, Facebook, Google Reader, Live Search, Kinepolis, MSN, Twitter, Technorati, Wapedia, Flickr, Yahoo and WordPress. I don’t really know many more that are of use to me, or that aren’t in a walled garden like Vodafone Live.

I also use client versions like Live Messenger (which you can download for all kinds of devices), the Live Search client as well as the Google Maps client, Yahoo!Go, … as well as apps that run in the Java environment on mobile like Gmail and Opera Mini. On the N95 I also tried the Widsets, but whatever the phone, the browse services still top them all.

Today, with the iPhone’s browsing capabilities, or other mobile browsers that enable better viewing of ‘normal websites’ on mobile we will probably skip the further development of mobile specific sites. With Skyfire for instance (see announcement) or Deepfish I expect to see more ‘regular’ browsing in the future.

Still, the problem remains, now even more than ever I guess. We will have access to every site we want, with great browsers but at what cost? There’s a good explanation why I use so much mobile: I can use it obviously but more important is that I don’t have to pay for it. The day I have to pay for it, I’ll cut back for sure, need or no need. How much I love the Wifi on these phones, that’s not truly mobile for me. It’s when in a taxi, or before checking in a plane, while waiting on someone, … that I love to use all my catching up. Not only in my sofa at home for instance.

So unless operators change their models on data costs, mobile will never really breakthrough and that’s sad. And yes you can discuss devices etc aren’t ready yet either, allow me to say they’re well ahead of the game when you compare them to operator attitudes. And I’m afraid they won’t change that soon either. There’s too much money to be made with TXT messages to allow you to use IM on mobile instead for instance. What’s your take?

PS: Also check out the upcoming FF for Mobile now we’re at it ;)

PPS: And Twitter, for god’s sake, at least add a replies tab to m.twitter.com will ya!