As I mentioned in my 2010 year end post the Lifestreaming services area has pretty much vanquished from the heydays back in 2007 & 2008 when I first created this blog. It seemed like a new service popped up every other week back then. But ultimately I believe several factors that included the inability to monetize them and the lack of mainstream acceptance ultimately doomed this exciting service niche.
The last service I covered was Memolane which went live late last year. They took a timeline based approach to Lifestreaming and provide the ability to import very deep archived data from the services they support. They also allow the Lifestreams to be embedded on other sites. These were a few of the distinctive features that brought a taste of how new services may be able to provide a resurgence to the Lifestreaming services arena. With all of the new innovations with regards to Visualizing and accessing data via API on the web not to mention the emergence of HTML5 there are many new tricks that can start to become apparent to liven up this old dog (in web years of course) called Lifestreaming.
And then along comes Glossi which is the first Lifestreaming service I have written about this year. I discovered Glossi from this post on The Next Web where Nancy Messieh not only provides a glimpse of this currently in private beta service, but also gains access to the inspiration and future plans from the founders. Luckily they were offering invites so I quickly snapped one up so I could take this new service for a spin. [Spolier alert: I have invites for readers below]
In the past, the the majority of Lifestreaming services took a pretty dry visual approach by simply aggregating posts from all services in a bland list format. Glossi has taken a fresh new approach taking queues from newer visual designs and taking advantage of richer methods to display data.
Creating and setting up the account was super simple. Just plug in one or more of the current five services supported including Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. I believe all services used a quick and simple oAuth process to connect your accounts. You also have the ability to set individual accounts to be either public or private, meaning that the content is only viewable by you. After you’ve connected all your accounts you can visit your profile page which depending on the services you’ve added will provide a nice visual display of your posts from each of the services.
The first thing to note with Glossi is that they break down your Lifestream into weekly chunks. So each page is comprised of all the posts within that week. For a profile that added Foursquare they will get a map with pushpins that represent all the checkins with a sidebar that offers a nice sliding list of the posts from each location along with a photo if one was added. Also, if you click on any of the pushpins it anchors directly to the post on the sliding bar. This is an example of using new thinking both from a presentation and functionality standpoint to add value to otherwise bland Lifestream data.
Below the Foursquare block you will get a random output of boxes that display tweets, photos, and posts from all of the other connected services in a visually appealing way. Also, each weekly page renders randomly upon every refresh. At the bottom of each weekly page are previous and next buttons to continue navigating through the timeline and if you mouseover a graph at the bottom you will get details of the number of tweets, checkins, posts, and photos as you slide through each week. The top of the page provides some basic profile information and avatar along with links to the external services you have linked up. Beyond that there is a button to visit other random Glossi profiles and there is a friending mechanism that acts as a way to bookmark other users profile pages.
So that’s Glossi in a nutshell. I like how they’ve taken the basic Lifestreaming data principal and have infused some newer ideas to make it more visually appealing. The Foursquare module is my favorite and I’d like to see some more innovative grouping of content done that way. In the interview Nancy did for The Next Web they mentioned that their top priority is to improve the visualization algorithm and then they will focus on adding new services including RSS, Posterous, Flickr, Gowalla, Vimeo, Last.fm. I hope they add YouTube as well.
I’m happy to see that although Lifestreaming services have languished, that there are still people that see the value and continue to try and provide new approaches to creating services around them. I look forward to watching Glossi progress with their development roadmap.
Glossi was nice enough to provide 100 invite codes to their private beta for Lifestream Blog readers. Just visit this link and go test out their service.