GetGlue, the social network and recommendation engine, has launched some new features that it hopes will broaden the appeal of its service by adding popup content widgets to any page that contains a link to Wikipedia, the Internet Movie Database, Last.fm and dozens of other popular sites, with related content and recommendations (i.e. likes and dislikes). GetGlue, a service from New York-based Adaptive Blue, already offers a toolbar that shows up when users visit certain web sites such as Amazon and eBay — giving them video clips, photos or recommendations related to a product, for example — but the company says it wanted to provide even more ways for people to see that kind of related content and recommendations wherever they are on the web.
Ami Greko, director of business development for GetGlue, says that while the toolbar provides recommendations and related content for a wide range of popular sites, it can’t possibly cover every site on the Internet. The feature that launched today, she says, is a way of providing those recommendations and related content on any page, whether it’s a major retailer’s site or a friend’s blog, provided the page links to a recognized web site or service such as Wikipedia or IMDB. In a demo, she showed how the links to a GetGlue popup widget were available (to users who install the browser plugin) on the Twitter web site and a page of Google search results.
After installing the plugin, when GetGlue detects a link to a site it supports, a small “G” icon appears next to the link. When a user’s cursor hovers over the icon, a small popup window appears that contains all the information that the GetGlue toolbar does — including information from the site that is being linked to, but also whatever the service can find elsewhere, such as related YouTube videos, Flickr images and ratings from people you’re friends with on the social network.
Such functionally is very similar to that of a blog plugin called Apture, which also embeds small icons next to links in web pages with information about the content at the link — YouTube videos, Wikipedia entries and so on. The two major differences are that Apture simply shows you in a popup a sample of what you would get by following the link, while GetGlue shows you other related info as well, and GetGlue adds the social recommendations from your friends.
Although getting all sorts of info about a site combined with recommendations from your friends seems like a good idea, services such as GetGlue and StumbleUpon suffer from a number of drawbacks. One is that you have to download and install a toolbar, which not everyone wants to do, and then that toolbar pops up whenever you go to a web site that might have related content, behavior that some users also don’t like (since it can also slow down the loading of the page). The other requirement is that you follow lots of people in the network, since the recommendation part of the service requires a certain amount of scale before it becomes useful.
Greko wouldn’t say how many users the GetGlue network has, but that the number is growing rapidly, and that its members provide 40,000 recommendations (likes, dislikes, etc.) every day on a variety of items such as books, movies and related services. The service doesn’t carry any advertising, she said, because “right now we’re really just interested in creating the best user experience we can, so we’re not really focusing on advertising at the moment.” Which raises an obvious question: How does GetGlue plan to make money?
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