I first became aware of Cluztr after after Jon (one of its founders) stumbled on to my site and let me know about it. I’m really glad he did because I think they have created a pretty innovative service. My focus in this post is based on its relevancy to Lifestreaming. In this case the functionality provided allows tracking of your web browsing which you can then share in several different ways via a few different RSS feeds. You can then add the RSS feed as a new defined source to your Lifestream.
While being a great source addition for your Lifestream, this is just one element offered by this site. I think its foremost purpose is to offer a great social surfing community in which users who are logged in simultaneously can share their web surfing experience in real-time. The system displays when users have visited a page or site as well as offer shared commenting. This is done by an extension (currently only offered for Firefox & Flock browsers…currently no IE support) which adds a sidebar to the broswer and a console and menu system. After you have opened your browser, you sign in to your account to activate the sidebar and begin tracking your surfing. You can sign in and out easily so if you want to only record selected sessions you can easily do that.
Users also have profile pages where you can view their linkstreams in a timeline, as well as top pages and top sites visited. Lastly, when you visit other users pages you can see what your similar browser percentage is to the profile you are visiting. I have spoken in the past about looking forward to ways that data from Lifestreams can be leveraged and this is definitely one of those cases.
Privacy seems to come up quite a bit with regards to Lifestreams and the concerns may vary depending on the source material included. I think most of this is due to a lack of understanding. Lifestreams are made up of RSS feeds that are public and readily available based on the service a user has chosen. In some cases you even have the ability to filter items you don’t want to be part of the feed. One example is flagging a bookmark as “do not share” when using del.icio.us. So I really don’t understand most of the concerns because (the collective) we are actively choosing to share this content.
Sharing your web surfing in real-time can definitely be classified as one of the more bold sources of data in your Lifestream, but I find it very intriguing. I like sources that offer more passive forms of sharing such as Last.fm recent tracks and Netflix recent movies. Cluztr definitely falls into this category which I find most interesting.
Cluztr takes the ability to protect privacy seriously and has been listening to users during this beta period to add features recommended. The addition to allow deletion of individual items from the live linkstream is a welcome addition. Another feature is the ability to mark sites as private is available. This is a step in the right direction, but needs tweaking. Currently it’s only available as an all or nothing setting at the domain level. It would be nice to allow blocking only for pages defined specifically within a site structure (mysite.com/admin/), or perhaps certain ports (mysite:com:8080), or other methods I may not be thinking of to still allow public areas of a site to be included but not exposing areas you’d like to keep private. I’m sure they will expand on this functionality as users provide more feedback.
I was also extremely happy to hear in their blog post that they expanded their feed support. A few days ago I only noticed a feed offered for the linkstream timeline. Now they also offer feeds for top pages and top sites visited. These recent additions are excellent options for people that may want to share a smaller subset of their web surfing patterns in their Lifestream.
I am very happy to say that Cluztr is an excellent new service to offer as a source for your Lifestream and I expect to see more people adding it as word gets out. Beyond the great Lifestreaming source, this is a great site with a passionate founder that you should take a look at. I just gave you taste of the other features and didn’t give it the full review treatment it deserves, but I’m tired, and this is the Lifestream Blog 😉 So go sign up and check it out. You can find my page here.