Couchville: If Google Maps Were TV Listings

7 03 2007

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does one thing and it does it well. SnapStream, the company behind PC DVR program BeyondTV, has ventured out into the intertubes to bring you a simple, working, online tv listings guide. Just plug in your zip code, select your provider, and off you go into channel surfing bliss. Couchville doesn’t try to muddle up its offering by adding unnecessary features.

After entering your initial information you are greeted with an Ajaxian interface that allows you to drag your listings in any direction -ala Google Maps. A vertical red line indicates the current time on the grid. You may configure your listings by hiding the channels you never watch but its probably more useful just to star programs that are your favorites. There is a search at the top that you can use to find a program and all related information, although it seems to need some refining.

Clicking on a program brings up its “tv show page” which lists a description of the show and future showings of it. Using Beyond TV collected data, Couchville also ranks shows according to number of dvr downloads. SnapStream also hints at a future “blurring of the lites” between its two offerings.

The only question is, does it work? Precisely, and thats all it needs to do. It is after all just a TV listing.

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Google Desktop Matures

6 03 2007

Today Google released Google Desktop 5.0 beta (it’s Google, isn’t it always beta?) and they seem to be elbowing for room on the Vista desktop.  Without adding any real functionality they did greatly improve the visual.  Google says their sidebar will “ fade in” the color of you wallpaper so that it will blend in more seamlessly.  It actually looks to me like they just made their transparency smarter.  They also added some phishing detection in your search and it also displays a thumbnail of the site.  I’m still waiting for the sidebar to be able to double as a dock for shortcuts but that’s just me.

From Google Desktop Blog:

The sidebar has a completely new look and feel. It samples the color of your wallpaper and fades in the sampled color so that it fits seamlessly onto your desktop. Some of our gadgets have been redesigned so that they are easy to tell apart, easy to read, and easy on the eyes. More differentiated gadgets allow for faster scanning of information through the sidebar. And we’ve created a new dialog for adding gadgets so it’s easier and faster than ever to find the right gadgets for you.

In addition, we have improved two other key features of Google Desktop:

  • Desktop Search – Ever searched your computer and seen a row of results that looked almost identical – so you had to open file after file until you found the right one? Now there is a better way: preview search results from within Google Desktop. Don’t wait for an entire application to load, just click “Preview” and find the information you want right away. Finding the right file has never been easier!
  • Security – We take your security extremely seriously and have added new features to help make your search experience safer. Whether you’re clicking on links from documents, IMs and email or browsing the web, if we have information that the site you’re visiting might be trying to steal your personal information or install malicious software on your computer, we’ll give you a warning first so you can decide if you want to use the site.

Google desktop 5.0 beta is available for Vista, XP, and 2000+sp3

Got Joost?

1 03 2007

YouTube… ah that little website that has caught everyones attention and caused them to be late for work. Well if you think thats a time waster, you haven’t seen anything yet.

I recently began beta testing a program called Joost (formally The Venace Project) and I’ve got to say, it has my attention. It was developed by and Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis (creators of Kazaa and Skype) along with about 150 software developers starting in 2006. In a sentence, its a P2P TV application that is supposed to bring you visual media at near television resolution. Read the rest of this entry »