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July 16, 2007

Search Plus for Video

Tags: Browser Garage — 7:57 am Comments (0)

Sometimes the results you get from a search engine aren’t that great (even from Google, these days), and you want a little extra and you want more relevant results. That’s where Search Plus comes in.

So, pound on it. Search Plus for Video is in Beta and the way we created it we can make a bunch of changes to the UI/UE via the server-side, so new features and changes/fixes will be introduced much like a web page. It’s our first entry into the Firefox/IE Add-on space.

What does is it do exactly? It’s very simple. Search Plus is multiple searches in one. Doing your normal search on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or Ask we’ll also query video providers (starting with YouTube) and we’ll present the results if there’s a relevant match. We’re playing around with the UI, location of the results, and other features and doing our best to make the results even more relevant.

Video results are becoming much more relevant, i.e. when you search for “irreplaceable” you probably want to see Beyonce’s music video or if you’re looking for “NASA voyager” why not see related videos to it versus just reading about it. Anyway, send feedback.



November 6, 2006

the concept of “time” on the Web

Tags: Browser Garage — 5:11 am Comments (0)

*draft 2*

The Web is unlike television, watching movies, reading a book, or writing content — with each there’s a definite start, stop, and length. The Web isn’t as clear and it has multiple concepts of time, various content with different time requirements (text, images, videos) and time concepts abound and are unpredictable.

Here’s an attempt to categorize the different time concepts and possible solutions for attempting to make more sense around time. There’s potential to surface these different concepts within a browser to make users aware of the concepts of time for various applications and services.

We’ll look at: Real Time, Day Parting, Temp, Archives, Time Zones.

Real-Time aka Right Now

There are certain applications that are real time:

  • content notifiers: stock tickers, live scoreboard
  • music and video streaming
  • eBay, stock and other bank transactions, purchasing transactions
  • instant messaging

Notes:
The use of meta-refresh was a method to establish “real-time” but it’s also a method to boost page views. Users don’t like their pages being refreshed automatically unless it’s for a very good reason e.g. live scoreboards.
Real-time apps used to be premium applications but some still are. Depending on the app, probably could get away with charging for the service.
One of the metrics around real-time apps is simultaneous usage measured by concurrent users.

Users expect applications to be real time and for transactions to post real time. If an application is not real time, the application provider will or should note the length of time e.g. updates every 15 minutes.

Day Parting

Many web sites are implementing day parting even “week parting” (which isn’t a term). Day parting is splitting up the content for the day for example news in the morning, leisure type programming in the afternoon or evenings. For “week parting” it’s programming for the week for example, Yahoo!’s Tech Tuesdays or their Friday programming getting people ready for the weekend. Sites that use day parting are AOL homepage, Yahoo! homepage, c|Net
Why day parting is used:

  • Give users an anchor to establish a general time e.g. it’s morning or afternoon
  • Generate different ad opportunities by splitting a specific page by time/theme
  • Attempt to train users to come back later or a certain day
  • To match the overall time curve on the web where 9amEST – 1pm EST is peak, somewhat of an attempt to normalize the time curve so that it’s all peak usage
  • To match and attempt to normalize the week curve where Tues – Thurs is peak usage and Fri – Sun is a major drop-off

Notes:
Day parting is based on Eastern (Daylight) Standard Time and not based on individual time zones, in other words not custom tailored to your time zone.

Day parting is usually driven by an editorial/programming team. Sites like digg.com and Google News may get day parted automatically given the content that’s available on the Web.

Unless it’s published or clear e.g. a Tech Tuesday, users will not recognize day parting.

Temp or For this Session

There are many times when

Archives aka Always and Forever

Web archives. Articles, permanent links. When will a web page/site disappear completely. How do you purge the Web of obsolete content e.g. my Bed and Breakfast went out of business purge me from the Web, I no longer exist

Timezone Effects

The Netscape.com story with announcing Survivor winners to a late timezone.

Expectations

Alerts and when you expect people to respond to email. When will people update their web sites (immediately? the next morning? the next week?) How do you program people to keep coming. Newsletters.
The Concept of a “Browser Session”
Authentication, browser sessions.



October 16, 2006

“content parts” of a web browser

Tags: Browser Garage — 12:26 pm Comments (4)

*draft*

I don’t know if “content parts” is right but wanted to identify what a web browser (or Firefox) handles. Each “part” is distinct and they’re all slightly handled differently in Firefox. There’s opportunity to unify how the different parts are handled or managed, and opportunity to specialize? (optimize) the different parts to take full advantage of why they’re different in the first place.

——-

Web Content
Description: html, rss, images
Examples:

Web Applications
Description:
authentication, account, storage of data,

Examples: E*Trade, Google Calendar, Yahoo!Mail, SmugMug, WordPress

Plug-ins (and Helper Applications)
Description: images, video, sounds, other document formats

Plug-in is “in browser” interaction. Helper application is “outside browser” interaction.

Handled by blah, blah

Examples: Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat, Java Plug-in, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime

Extensions/Add-ons
Description:

Handled by Add-ons Manager

Examples:

——-
Opportunities to Unify

Opportunities to Optimize



October 10, 2006

browser garage logo

Tags: Browser Garage — 8:38 pm Comments (2)

We’ve got a logo. Thanks to the incomparable graphicsguru.

The name browser garage is a company/working name as in browser garage LLC, but possibly will turn into a project/.org name or maybe it sticks for the long haul. It comes from the two things that have made the Web tick, the Web browser and “garage”-type innovation. The name also is a nod to a company Netscape acquired, Web Site Garage who I sat next to at Netscape. It’s also a nod to Marcia’s Firefox and Thunderbird Garage book, Guy’s Garage.com, the famous HP Garage, West Coast Customs (Pimp My Ride), and my Dad’s garage which is just full of stuff.

The logo is a garage, of course, and sticking out is a little Mozilla tail. browser garage will only be working on Mozilla technology so nothing for Internet Explorer, sorry. We’re like an automotive garage that only wants to work on custom and exotic cars versus fixing up beat up Hondas.

We do have a web site, and we’re working on making that pretty. We also have a blog set up there. Pretty takes time.



September 2, 2006

two web problems

Tags: Browser Garage — 7:08 am Comments (0)

There are two web problems I’d like to see solved or solved in a better way:

a) Discovering new web sites. In the early days it was What’s New | What’s Cool from Mosaic and then Netscape. Yahoo still has a pretty cool What’s New web site, and modern day What’s New/Cool sites include Wikipedia front page, Digg.com, and Del.icio.us. Another method of discovering new sites is through blogs, bloggers put up links they find interesting. People don’t really “discover” or look to discover new sites through search engines, they’re more looking for information. And finally, people discover web sites offline through advertising, word of mouth through friends and family, and television.

b) Filtering of web sites/information. The other problem (and I believe fairly major) with the Web is too much information in general, and too much information within a given site. It’s certainly hard to control what a site gives you, I have a hard time filtering and finding the information on my own site. With the explosion of blogs, attempts to consume all that content has come in the form of blog readers. Other tools in the past include bookmark managers, alerts (like CNN or Google alerts), “My” pages, and blog sites themselves. Tabbed browsing helps users consume more sites and popup blocking helps to filter out bad content.

More on these topics later.



December 30, 2005

the perfect browser

Tags: Browser Garage — 1:12 am Comments (0)

The perfect browser to me has several elements:

– renders web pages and applications as meant by the author
– gives authors/developers the ability to create rich web pages/content/applications
– allows users to interact with the web site in a complementary way (doesn’t get in the way)
– puts the user in control of the experience (meaning extensible, customizable via options)
– has to be simple and efficient (meaning has to be familiar, easy to use, fast)



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