Sunday, February 12, 2006 is the flagship product from the team that designed the Audioscrobbler system, a music engine based on a massive collection of Music Profiles. Each music profile belongs to one person, and describes their taste in music. uses these music profiles to make personalized recommendations, match you up with people who like similar music, and generate custom radio stations for each person.

After picking a username and signing up, you would typically install an Audioscrobbler Plugin for your media player (iTunes, Winamp etc..) which sends the name of every song you play on your computer to Over time, this list of songs grows larger and larger - you can see your personal listening charts on your userpage. automatically finds people with a similar taste, and generates music recommendations for you.

If you have a broadband internet connection, you should grab the Player. This is a small application that plays you radio - where each listener gets different songs, all picked automatically depending on your music taste.

A whole bunch of new features have just (Feb '06) been added. For example, on music pages you'll notice new triangular play buttons - click these and a 30-second (or if the button is red, full-length) preview will start playing right in the page! This is pretty cool, but if you'd prefer to hear previews the traditional way using the Player, all you need to do is change a setting.

There are dozens of other entertaining and useful aspects of, but you'll have to sign up and explore them for yourself.

Take the Screenshot Tour.
My profile page is here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Google Instant Message Service Inside Gmail

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc. users will be able to conduct instant message chats from a Google Web browser window, alongside their e-mails, instead of requiring a separate application, the company said late Monday.

Google hopes that by embedding new instant messaging software it calls "Gmail Chat" into its existing e-mail service, it can differentiate itself in a crowded market it was late to join.

Google is fixing a decade-old technical divide between the generic Web browser that can check e-mail, search the Web or perform a host of other activities, and separate software used to converse in quick back-and-forth messages with buddies.

"We are breaking down some of the artificial barriers between e-mail and Web browsing," Salar Kamangar, Google's vice president of product management, said in a phone interview. "We observed by talking with our users that there is no reason to think of IM as different from an e-mail message."

Gmail Chat requires no special software download. It is available to any registered user of Gmail e-mail. Existing contacts within the more advanced Google Talk program automatically show up in Google Chat, the company said.

Gmail Chat features include a Quick Contacts list on the left side of a Google e-mail page that automatically displays the people the user communicates with most frequently, not just via Chat but also via Gmail e-mail or Google Talk services.

Gmail users will start receiving offers to join the Gmail Chat service over the coming weeks, although some members received invitations as early as Tuesday.

In effect, Google is easing the frustrations of millions of instant messaging users of having to install special software on each computer to hold instant chats.
While this presents little difficulty for computers users sitting at a PC they control, many office workers are usually restricted from downloading the special IM software required for their work machines.

See an info page and screenshot here.