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Summary:

Glass makes sharing websites — along with some useful context — a matter of clicking a button in your browser. It’s based on a browser plugin, available for Firefox and Chrome, that essentially creates a secondary information “level” for a website when you turn it on.

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If you’re like me, you probably have days when half the emails in your inbox are links to websites; sometimes without an explanation of why someone on your team felt the need to send you that particular link. Maybe it’s a link to your own website and someone’s trying to communicate that there’s an update needed. Or maybe it’s a link to another site that gave them an idea for moving forward on your current project. Maybe it’s even a link to the website of a lead. Having a simple system in place for adding contextual information to the websites shared would be useful.

Glass is a such a tool. It makes sharing websites — along with adding the required context — a matter of clicking a button in your browser. It’s based on a browser plugin, available for both Firefox and Chrome, that essentially creates a secondary, real-time information sharing “level” for a website when you turn it on. Like writing on a sheet of glass placed over a map, you can add notes on that level and forward them to someone in your network. It’s as much a useful tool for noting design changes that need to be made to a website as it is for noting a reason to contact a prospective lead.

Adding Conversation to the Mix

Glass’s concept grew out of the problems that can come with forwarding a list of links. Diego Prats, the startup’s CEO, says, “I used to try to share massive lists of links but that would lead to confusion over what to click or what was important. In the end, I just wanted to make them look or watch something so we could talk about it. With that in mind, we set out to create Glass so we could effectively point to anything on the web and have our own private conversation right there. It’s our way of eliminating that ‘you had to be there’ or ‘oh you didn’t see that’ kind of moment.”

The back and forth when discussing websites can quickly lose the context of the site itself, if your conversation isn’t actually forcing you to open up that link every time. Glass’s approach — allowing you to respond to comments on that layer laid top of the website you’re discussing — keeps everyone on the same page.

Keeping It All in Context

Sharing information comes down to a question of context. Prats notes, “For us, sharing context is really about creating more value for the conversation and the content being discussed. Glass is not about telling you about something interesting that you found and hoping you may check it out, but instead, it’s about bringing you into the fold and the moment so you can experience it as well… Whether it’s about sharing recipes, a new gallery show we should attend, the latest news in technology, apartment listings on craigslist, or even new design comps we’re collaborating on, we’ll always know what we were talking about and what everyone said, as that’s all stored together.”

Let us know what you think of Glass in the comments.

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  1. This is just the kind of thing I’ve been looking for . . . maybe. Unfortunately, it’s in private beta, so you need an invitation. What would be very cool is if there were a way to annotate something on a page and then make that annotation available as a short URL. I often run across a paragraph or other infonugget on a page, and I’d like to share it on Twitter. It’s too big to tweet, but just sharing the URL for the entire page doesn’t provide sufficient context. Having the ability to link to a particular segment–along with commentary on it–would be wonderful.

    1. Cory, it sounds like what you’re asking for are public slides. While we don’t offer them right now, it is something we’re working on for the future. If you want to try Glass now, go to http://writeonglass.com and use the code jennasaurus. We’d love to know what you think!

  2. Great article! I’ve been using glass for over a month. The possibilities of uses are endless and can also be entertaining. A great way to strengthen connections in the personal or business world. The people who work at Glass are always prompt with answers and open for suggestions. Jenn does a great job and I’m sure if you ask nice enough, she will send you an invite. Feel free to ask me more an invite too. If you wish to share some slides I’m ncoutlander on Glass.

  3. Great article. Would love to try Glass. Anybody know how to get an invite to Glass? It’s in private beta and an invitation is required at this point. Thanks to anyone who can help!

    Andy Robinson
    Andy.Robinson@CRGLeaders.com

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