Archive for July, 2011

Spotify First Impressions

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I received a Spotify invite the other day in my inbox, so I clicked the link and downloaded the software right away.  I have to say, for free, this is probably the best music streaming service I have used.  Unlike Pandora you can pick the songs you want to hear and make playlists.  Although this isn’t as good for music discovery, I think this is something that is very appealing to most users.  Also, it automatically imports iTunes music so you can include those songs into your Spotify playlists as well.  I haven’t linked it to Facebook yet, so I don’t know how the social part works.  But, I think my only complaint is that it doesn’t give a very good interface for discovering music or browsing through genres, etc.  They have a top song and artist list, but besides that you pretty much have to search for what you want.  I have found at least some music from all of the artists that I have searched for, including semi-local artists.  Overall, this is a great way to take a listen to new songs that have been recommended to you and to make free playlists if you will only be listening on a computer.

Oh, almost forgot the ads… somewhat flashy.  They change fairly often and take up a fair size of the window, but if you are just listening to music in the background they don’t interfere.  And they do play ads between songs once in a while.  Ok, now they play a few ads between songs once in a while.


Google+ First Impressions

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

So, I was lucky enough to get a Google+ invitation yesterday, but wasn’t able to register for an account until late last night.  I have now had the chance to play with it a bit.  And my first impressions are that it seems very similar to Facebook in some aspects.  The biggest difference to me is that there is not concept of a network like in Facebook.  With Facebook networks you can search for friends based on things you have in common, for example, the high school you went to.  Sure, Google+ has Circles, but I don’t see a way to search for people based on a high school, employer or anything like that.  Maybe it is just that none of my friends are on there that I’m not seeing an easy way to do this.

The news feed seems very similar to Facebook.  You have the +1 instead of likes and you can comment on posts.  I do kind of like the larger pictures when you include an image in a post.  But, I’m not sure if I like the whole format of the post.  The bottom looks a bit cluttered with all of the +1, shares and comment information.

I think initially the most impressive feature is Hangouts.  It looks like this is a way to do video chat with a bunch of people.  I really want to try this out, but I need a few more friends on Google+ first.  Another good feature is that they allow you to download a copy of the data that you share on Google+.  This is great for archiving purposes.  If Facebook vanishes all of your data vanishes too.  At least with Google+ you can download a copy that you can use to try and rebuild your post history.

Overall, it seems very similar to Facebook.  A majority of the interface and nice and clean, but there are a few areas where a bit more work could help clean things up a little bit.

If anyone wants an invite to Google+ let me know!

- Zach