I went to the movies last week on a Friday night after a long time. As I was sitting there waiting for the film to start I noticed how full the movie hall was and how many users were pulling out their smart-phones and using it. I began to think about the business potential . Imagine creating a mobile application that could capture this audience and keep them engaged. I started to have some ideas about what that could be. So when I got home I started to do some Google vodoo to see if I could find anything that came close to some of my ideas. While I did not find what I was looking for I did come across a social network that was doing something very interesting in the entertainment area, called “Glue”. I decided to try it out and well here is my review of the service.
I like this social network site which basically allows you to rate movies, TV shows,music, books and even some electronic gear. Its really easy to use and very addictive. The barrier to entry is low. The site supports a one-click login through the new Facebook Identity federation button. By the way I just love this integration feature from Facebook and I am not worried about privacy issues when it comes to this connivence. Once you logon to the site you are presented with about 20 items to like or not like which takes you all of two minutes. At that point I wanted more and I spet almost a half hour on the site before I knew it. The site rewards users with badges, which really does work and by recognizing users as gurus of a particular topic. You can delve deeper into the site by giving reviews on movies or providing more detailed ranking on an item that you liked.
The site will make recommendations to you after it learns about your preferences and for the most part I have found the recommendations to contain content that I actually enjoyed and did not know about before. These are two very important attributes for any social site to keep the user engaged.
The design of the wall site is really simple and uses a lot of white space and big fonts. This makes reading the content easy but displays very little content on the screen. To view more content you are forced to scroll down. Im my personal opinion I would have tighten things up slightly and tied to get a little more content on the Recommendation Wall.
Glue's homepage makes use of a lot of white space as part of its design strategy.
There is also an awesome Google Chrome plugin for the site which when you browse sites like Amazon or Apple Trailers automatically appears as a small dashboard on the bottom of your browser. The Dashboard allows you to see other people who like that book or trailer that you are watching and gives you the chance to Like! or Not Like! immediately.
The Glue dashboard automatically appears when visiting a site that glue recognizes like Amazon or Apple Trailers allowing you to easily have a social experience and share your like preferences.
I really liked this social startup and I think it is going to do really well. They also have mobile applications for both the iPhone and for Android phones. Hope they also bring an app to the Nokia platform soon. The mobile web page just does not cut it for this day and age.
Glue competes directly with Miso and TunerFish. I have not used these other sites. I did visit them and what turned me off immediately was the singularity of their focus. Both these services focus on TV Shows and no other social object. I find that a major limitation. I can imagine its just a matter of time till more content is added. Its just likely that Glue will be much farther ahead by that time.
Micro-computers on Airplanes and a Futuristic Idea
One of the trends that I see happening as we move into the future is the pervasiveness of computers everywhere. I also see these computers becoming smaller and smaller and varying in different functionalities. One such functionality that I envision would be sensors. These sensors would contain both information and be able to talk to different sensors or computers. An example use case would solve a pet peve of mine.
Imagine a plugged-in airplane with microsensors talking to our smart phones.
When I fly from Canada to any other country I need to usually fill in a customs card. I hate doing this. I hate having to during my flight grab my passport, find a pen, pull down the food tray, and start filling out the card. The card then asks for the flight information which for some reason I never remember so once again I have to pull out the boarding card and hope I can still find it.
I hate this process and find it really annoying.
With sensors and mobile computers, such as our smart phone why not stream line this process. Air planes could be pre-programmed with sensors that would have all the flight details such as, the Flight destination, port information, and te flight number. This way when I board the airplane the sensor could wirelessly communicate with my smart phone fill in the flight information for me automatically. All my passport and personal detail could be imported into my “virtual mobile custom card application” (VMCCA). A password would be neeeded or some kind of bio-metric hardware like a fingerprint reader to unlock the personal data. After all protecting passport details and personal data is still a top priority.
Presto that silly customs card that I needed to fill in comes pre-filled with all relative information. All I need to do is fill in the purpose of my trip and if I am returning home, how much I spent. I might also need to enter an address for where I will be staying or fill in the card for multiple family members. The application would easily integrate with my address book and I could grab all the contact details that I need. There is very little to no typing needed. No struggling to find or borrow a pen and no reaching into my bag to grab my passport or boarding card.
When I land I can send this information ahead of time to the custom officiers with a simple click on a “SEND” button and stream line the process. Imagine that!