Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Can't Stop Watching

Click for high def

The Coolest Tech Ever -- Blogger Play

I can't stop, literally can not stop watching Blogger's totally rad newest & coolest.

Warning: Go to Blooger Play and your life will screech to a halt.

Blogger Buzz

Today we’re pleased to launch Blogger Play, a neat little toy we’ve cooked up to show you photos and blog posts as you’ve never seen them before.

Shortly after Blogger launched photo uploading two years ago, one of our engineers whipped up a web page that would show us the pictures that were being uploaded in real time. The result was fun, often beautiful, but above all, compelling. We couldn’t stop watching.

Over the years we’ve kept this photo scroller as part of the Blogger offices, on a monitor or projector, as an interesting (distracting?) slideshow, and a reminder of the diversity and vivaciousness of Blogger blogs. The fame of the scroller spread within Google, until one day we were asked, "so, when are you launching this?"

"Um...," we replied. But we knew a good idea when we heard one. We got our UI people to come up with buttons and fadey effects and we got our engineers to make the whole thing fast and robust. A bit of work later, and now we can share it with all of you:

Blogger Play will show you a never-ending stream of images that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs. You can click the image to be taken directly to the blog post it was uploaded to, or click “show info” to see an overlay with the post title, a snippet of the body, and some profile information about the blogger who uploaded it. We also wrote a Blogger Play FAQ with more information.

A caveat: we use many techniques, including Google’s SafeSearch technology, to keep the images clean. Nevertheless, on rare occasions an image that you may find vulgar or obscene will slip through our algorithmic filters. Google does not pre-screen the images that appear in Blogger Play, nor is it responsible for their content. To report a terms of service violation, you may fill out this contact form.
See a photo you think cool? Hit the stop button. Click on the photo. The blog the photo came from pops up in the next tab. Stunning.

Not to mention an awesome source of amazing photos, for example the fireworks up top: click on photo to see it in full glory. I've got another four of five shots from the same blog to be used some other time I need great firework shots. How great is that!

I'm tempted to throw up another monitor simply to scroll these photos 24/7. But then I'd never get any work done.

My highest recommendation. (Instantly Addictive.)

Updated 4:00 pm PT (7 :00 p.m. ET):

For three hours I've flown though literally thousands of photographs, hundreds of blogs, stopping when ever a photo caught my attention. I've been unable to stop, in fact, it never occurred to me to stop. I was completely lost in the flow of photos racing by clicking chosen photograph to blog then back to photographs streaming through me.

Just one of the many interesting points is, at least half of the photos which caught my attention led to blogs not written in English. Most of which I had no idea what the language was.
  • Are more than half the blogs on Blogger not in English?
  • Are non-English speakers better photographers than English speakers?
  • Do non-English writers put up more photographs than English writers? Or, to float a complicated theory...
  • Are non-English speakers living inside a deeper cultural bond with their families and friends, more of a societal & workplace commitment to life being lived now (child care, six weeks of vacation, no need for both parents to work full-time) and thus find themselves living more fully inside the world all humans have the opportunity to live in than English speakers (who tend to focus on their work to the exclusion of life) -- this non-westernized (non-English speaking) being-in-the-world reflected in their art?
I don't know. I'm in pure speculation mode.

What I'm sure of is, I doubt non-English speakers make up more than half of the blogs... yet I clicked on the photos I liked... and wham-o, up kept popping non-English pages. Huh.

Curiouser and curiouser. There's a Ph.D. thesis in here waiting. (Yeah, I said it first. Make sure you credit Group News Blog, me, and send virtual and physical copies of your thesis.)

Let's do a little GNB investigating...

A request for everyone -- and I warn you again it is very addictive: please take the time to comment on Blogger Play. Even if you don't normally comment. Even if you normally just read posts and we never hear from you.

Please... this has got me bugged:
  • What were the blogs you went to like? Did you lose yourself in any of them?
  • How addictive for you was the flow of the photo stream? At fast or slow speeds?
  • Language? English, non-English; what were they (rough guesses are fine)?
  • Overall experience? Comments, freak-outs, stuff you learned? Or wonder?
Thank you for your time. For me, it's a trip. And a bit of a freak out. And a really, really cool tool to go exploring with. Only problem is, one moment I turned it on, next it was three hours later and "hey, what happened?" Got a lot of pretty photos y'all see some of later. And food for some posts. But not really how I'd planned my Saturday. *gulps*

I look forward to your comments. I really do want to know for as many of you as possible -- again, even the thousands of you who normally only read -- what happened for you when you checked it out.

Thank you.