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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kikin Is Kicking Ass!

Kikin is a Firefox plug-in that gives search engine results from Google, Bing and Yahoo! a boost. And, what a boost it is!
Once you install the plug-in, before the traditional search results, you see relevant videos from Youtube, updates from Twitter & Facebook (if connected to your account), and also content from Amazon and eBay - depending on what you were looking for. Your content will be displayed in a way that lets you easily interact and share with your friends too.

I've tried some other plug-ins that do the same and let you personalize and view content from your favorite social networks, but Kikin's integration with search is not annoying, rather it's well designed and really gives you more than just old plain search results.

The ironic thing is that when looking at Kikin's offerings in comparison to Google/Bing twitter's integration, I just don't understand why bigger companies, like the above-named can offer us a great experience like Kikin. Sad, no?

Try it, it will literally spice up your search.



You can read more on Kikin in this Techcrunch post.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 7:43 PM 0 comments

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All The Music In YouTube - Organized!



TubeRadio.fm is a web application that looks & feels like a music player where users can quickly find, listen to, build, and share playlists of their favorite artists' music. Since TubeRadio based on the music library of Youtbue, it makes it easy to find just about any songs you want - Millions of them.

TubeRadio.fm organizes everything into albums that you can grab by simply click on them. A quick test show me that it only takes few minutes to built an entire music collection, and once you have your playlists ready, you can listen to songs, see other releases, read the lyrics or bio, and find similar music. (All data content provided by Last.fm)

2009-10-27_112804

TubeRadio also incorporates a number of social networking features. Each user has a profile which lists their playlists, their frequently played artists and videos. You can add others as friends or become a fan of another user, and share your playlists with a single link.

The player basically looks like other players you familiar with so it will be very easy to understand how it function - and of course, it is always a bonus to play favorite music from the web also, but I actually would love to get the same experience on my Desktop. Maybe an AIR application will be a good choice as well.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:54 AM 0 comments

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Google Wave client for Mac Users and iPhone (soon)

If you own a MAC here's some good news: you can already download a Google Wave client to your desktop from this site: Waveboard (let me know if it works for you, cause I'm using PC)


Thanks for the screenshots Ouriel, and Naor!

I've also spotted this iPhone demo:

According to the app creator, it is waiting for an approval from the AppStore right now, so hopefully we'll be able to use it soon.

Another way to use Google wave from the iPhone is to simply go to this link: wave.google.com/wave - click on the go ahead button, and start waving.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 11:54 AM 4 comments

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The First Google Wave Notifier



Just found this new (and first) Google Wave notifier add-on for Firefox.

This add-on will just notify you about new message in your Wave account (see screenshot above) - no popup or anything like it.

Please note that if you don't add your account logging information in the setting, it will close your browser (bug). You might also want to change the refreshing time in the setting:



I've been waiting for such add-on cause I simply hate to leave my Wave open - and until Google will create some kind of notifier themselves, I'm pretty happy with this one.

Created by this waver: Chad Smith

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:37 AM 8 comments

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Monday, October 12, 2009

11 Wave Tools You May Not Know Exist

I'm still in the pursuit of exploring Google Wave, although I already wrote in my last post that I'm not a huge fan of this platform. Well, I am writing more because I do find it important to understand Wave's behavior better. Surely, I don't want to miss anything going on there.

Don't get me wrong, I still think Wave is far, far away from being perfect, yet I also think I missed the point that maybe Google don't want it to be perfect either. Maybe Google is waiting for us to make it perfect, same as Twitter did, and is still doing for the last 3 years.

So until Google allows some settings and give us the ability to actually have control of the conversation the way we feel comfortable with, here are some tools that will enrich your conversations and will give your Wave a little boost. (warning though, some of the tools are useless as hell)

1. Twitter
There are two ways to use Twitter through Wave:

A) First, add tweety's email to your contact list tweety-wave@appspot.com. Follow the instructions you get inside the Wave, which is basically to log in to your Twitter account, then you'll be able to use Twitter from within Wave.

B) Open a New Wave, click on this button to add a gadget via URL - add this specific URL: http://www.twittergadget.com/gadget_gmail.xml, and start following your tweetstream.


May I just add that I don't find these two strange ways appealing at all. I also don't understand why I'd want to tweet something while I'm on Wave... But oh well, if Twitter needs to be everywhere, there you have it - You can tweet from Wave with a little help of third party gadgets.

2. TinyURL - Bit.ly-bot
OK, this one is pretty sweet - Add this email address to your Wave contact list: bitly-bot@appspot.com, then add this user whenever you want to shorten URLs inside Waves. It will do that automatically. You can also use the same Wave just to shorten the URL whenever needed.

3. Wikipedia-Wikify
Wikify gives you a full definition of any topic you want from within a Wave. All you need to do is to add Wikify mail address to your Wave contact list: wikifier@appspot.com
and each time you need to know the definition of a topic or a term, use the Wikify command:

And that is by far the geekiest way to find information through Wikipedia!

4.
Starify - Star a Wave
Starify allows you to bookmark Waves, simple as that. Add Starify's email address to your contact list: starifybot@appspot.com and then you are able to keep track of all your starred waves. Add Starify user to a any wave you want to bookmark, then type the following commands:
  1. /star' Star a wave
  2. /list' See all your starred waves
  3. /delete' Remove starred waves
You can also star a wave, if you add this gadget by URL: http://www.wave.to/botinstaller/starify_bot_installer.xml (open a new Wave and click on the green button)

I really liked this little Wave-add-on from the beginning until I discovered today that once you've begin starring Waves with Starify, people in the conversation will also see that you saved this Wave, and sometimes, you want a bookmark to be private. Well, you have no privacy here!

5. Nokar
Same as Starify & Wikfy, Nokar works on the same command concept - It allows you to do all sort of things such as: Convert your text to pirate-speak, show recent tweets by user, and more. I actually like the command that helps you search pictures from Flickr (watch screenshot for more). This is the Nokar email address in Wave: lab2market@appspot.com.


6. iWave
Allows you to create a profile on Wave by using Facebook connect, overall it is a nice tool if you need to introduce yourself to others in a Wave. To use iWave, open a new Wave, click on the green button, and add this widget URL: http://gadget.wave.to/iWave/iWave.xml


7.
Emoticony
Emoticony is a must have for all MSN fans. It's a robot that converts text representations of emoticons to actual images once the Wave is submitted. The robot sits on this email address: emoticonbot@appspot.com and can be used in every conversation.


8. Amazon
In case you want to shop with your friends, you have two ways to do it - through Amazon-bot address, or through an XML link that you can add as a new gadget inside each conversation.

To use a the Amazon-bot user - add this email address to your contact list: amazon-withwaves-com@appspot.com, then follow the commands instruction. It might be easier though to just simple link to the gadget with this URL: http://gadgets.withwaves.com/installer/amazon/manifest.xml - same results.


9. Calcbot
This robot will fill in simple math calculations during your conversation (again, with a certain command) Add this bot to your user list: calcbot@appspot.com and follow the simple command to start.

10. Flippy
Just in case you get bored inside a conversation, you can flip your text with Flippy - flippy-wave@appspot.com - or you can go to this site, and flip it without the extra user.


11. Lasty
And finally music :) - Add Lasty (last-robot@appspot.com) if you want to tell people what you listened to recently on Last.fm during a conversation. After adding Lasty-bot to your contact list, type 'YourLastFMUser-is-listening' inside a Wave and Lasty will tell what song are you listening.


Please note that after I tested so many of these Wave extensions and widgets, I now convinced even more that there is something lacking in the conversation flow, it is just too hard to avoid the problems in the wave chat box - an annoying experience.

Find more Wave extensions in this massive list:

Google Wave Extension List -

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:23 PM 17 comments

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Google Wave: First Impression

I've been playing around Wave for a week or so and I'm not sure I like it so far.

Sure, at first, I got all excited from getting an invite, then I realized it's just a really progressive messaging platform - or to be specific, simply a web-based instant messenger with real-time features. I can see the potential in this kind of service in the future, but overall, unless it offers the ability to change the settings, it will be hard to use.

Since we're talking about Google, it is probably just the tip of the iceberg in regards to this service, so therefore I'll refer to the issues from my experience so far.

Real-time annoyance:
Never in my life did I imagine that I wouldn't like real-time functionality, but in Wave, for perhaps the first time ever - I do. To see all of your friends' updates in real time (aka: Friendfeed, Brizzly, etc) is one thing, but to see your friends writing them all at the same time, that's a whole different story! I'm not sure I'll ever able to adjust to this form of communication... Also, in a discussion (whether it's one-to-one or many people) to see others' writings in real-time can sometimes be embarrassing, and lets face it: how many times have you written something then changed it in the last second before clicking the send button? Here you can do this too but be aware that people can and already are seeing what you meant to say or typed before you click 'done' - embarrassing!

Interface problems:
Wave is divided to several boxes that you can minimize or maximize. But the problem is that if you don't maximize the new wave window, you'll be missing some of extensions and gadgets that are the most fun part of this applications. This can be solved by a drop down menu (see screenshot), or by simply slightly increasing the size of the new wave box (by dragging the side panels)

Also, it feels unnatural to click on the 'done' button while chatting, instead of just hitting enter. I don't know if Wave will be similar to Gmail eventually, but right now, the "done" button is useless and not saving us any time.

Frankly, I think the whole 'new wave box' is cumbersome and not easy to function. Just in case you didn't notice, you can reply to someone by simple clicking enter. But for some reason, you can't edit your notes by clicking enter as well. Also, the way to delete a reply inside a wave is hidden, among other tools that might be useful if they where more visible (such as insert a private reply). Maybe it is just too complex. When I look at Friendfeeds' discussion threads, I think it's absolutely geniusly built, so easy to understand and function. I don't know what Google is trying to do here but it looks like they're mixing Email with Chat features, which turns out to not be the best combination...

Extensions as contacts:
It took me a while to understand the concept behind Wave extensions. But you can think about it like the social gadget at iGoogle - Instead of installing a gadget in iGoogle, then inviting people to join via email, you can invite people you want to share a gadget with through Wave. Overall, it is the same thing, with improved real-time conversation. Since iGoogle already has a massive collections of gadgets, you can use them in Wave as well (and in your Gmail BTW).

An odd thing though, is the applications you add as contacts, I'm still trying to figure this concept out - here are some examples:

Lets say I want to perform the simplest act of starring a wave (so it'll be easier to find later on), since Google is not enabling star a wave at the moment, I've added a bot-app called Starify that basically allows me to star a Wave. How? By adding the bot as a contact and then adding to each Wave I want to save (confused? yeah, me two).

Another example is Twitting from Wave. You have two ways to do it:
  1. Add Tweety-bot to your contact list: tweety-wave@appspot.com and each time you want to tweet, add this contact to a new Wave (or open an old one)
  2. Another way to do it is to open a new Wave, add a new gadget by URL: http://www.twittergadget.com/gadget_gmail.xml and reuse this Wave each time you want to tweet.
Both ways are not appealing and I wish Google offered us a better way to tweet from this platform, sigh.

Bottom line, I'm not a happy Wave user, but it was quite an unusual ride so far. It will take me a while to get use to it, but first I want to see some new setting options from Google including:
  • The ability to choose where and when to activate the real-time feature
  • The ability to see who's online and to change my status the way I want too (online, offline, busy)
  • The ability to block a person
  • The ability to create groups
That's it for now - if you have something to add from your Wave experience, please write it in the comments below.

What is Google Wave? (the shorter version)


Also read Scoble's post about Wave - Google Wave crashes on beach of overhype

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 3:36 PM 20 comments

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