July 05, 2008 |
It seems odd for this child of the 80s to type that Peter Gabriel has become a technology investor. All this time I thought he wanted to be my sledgehammer, and it turns out he wanted to be my filter instead. That doesn't sound nearly as exciting, does it?
It may not sound exciting, but the concept of directing the stream of information online and filtering the noise is about as exciting as it gets in social media right now. We are all on a never ending quest to manage how we are exposed to the internet information flow, and how it is exposed to us as well.
Just this week we have seen the launch of three new microblogging services (that I know of – they crop up like fungus so I could have missed one). People are running to and fro downloading AIR app after AIR app in hopes of managing these streams in a more efficient way. I myself downloaded, and fell in love with, TweetScan for the double punch of Summize and Twitter management just this morning. I also rushed to join Ping.fm in hopes of managing the myriad of services I'm on, but don't really like to use, like Plurk (FaceBook, Twitter and the ones I'm on regularly I still manage off Ping, it's just more personal that way).
The timing for a truly useful noise filter couldn't be better, but does the one Peter Gabriel backs have what it takes? A few years ago Gabriel backed a little plug in made for iTunes users called the Filter. It was meant to control the "noise" in iTunes by making playlists for you automatically. That proved to be a much needed feature that was eventually integrated into iTunes (first we had playlists, then smart playlists and now on-the-go playlists).
The Filter wasn't needed by iTunes users anymore, but Gabriel decided the need for it in another guise was great. When The Filter reinvented itself as a tool for filtering the noise of the internet, he decided to back the company again. This go round The Filter is a web site, not a plug in, but it still claims to filter the things in entertainment and media you need filtered.
Does it filter everything online? No, The Filter concentrates on entertainment. This is fine with me, as I've actually spent so much time managing my work streams and my social media streams and life streams lately entertainment has fallen by the wayside. Heck, I've been so pressed for time to enjoy music that I only just downloaded the awesome FoxyTunes and it has been out for quite some time now. I'd love a site that helped me quickly find what I was seeking since I flat out don't have time to search.
The competition for the Filter is said to be sites like Last.fm and Pandora. Last.fm I can see – they do a pretty good job of minimal filtering for me, though I don't use them enough to get the full benefits of the social aspect of their service. Pandora I can't see at all. It is my least favorite music service on the web right now. Perhaps it is something to do with how I listen to music, or the feeling of wasted time, but I don't want to hear songs "like" an artist or song – I want to hear that song. I find Pandora's vague nature annoying.
What will set The Filter apart is the focus on all entertainment media for filtering. They are including movies, videos, music, and more in their algorithm. That is really what I'm looking for – one stop shopping to help me sort through the mess that is my entertainment pile. Last.fm doesn't give me that control over all of my media, and it sounds like the Filter might.