Today we launched Cooliris Express, a great way to put your favorite photos or videos from Picasa, Flickr, YouTube or your own Media RSS feed into your blog. Express supports a number of blogs as well as all the popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Hi5, etc…)
Express is an Adobe Flash-based version of the Cooliris wall that runs across browsers and operating systems. You can literally get an Express wall on your site in seconds. If you have a photoset or album ready to go, the simple Express wizard takes you through three simple steps to publish your media.
There are a number of very cool things you can do with Express. Because you can pull from any of the standard public streams on YouTube, you can set up your own CNN or sports channel to compliment a blog post. If you are taking photos at a conference and want to have integrate your photostream into your blog, you can now do that in a really compelling, integrated way with Express. If you take a lot of pictures or video over the holidays, you can simply add them to your photostream, album or YouTube account and if they are integrated with Express, they will automatically get added to your site so that your friends and family can view your holiday festivities.
There are a lot more ways to use Express. Give it a try yourself, or check out the Cooliris Blog for more ideas.
Like many products, there are a lot of things that you can do with Cooliris that people haven’t discovered, like watching National Geographic documentaries or viewing Craigslist listings. But a feature that I recently discovered is one that, as a parent, I really appreciate. When you view YouTube videos in Cooliris, you don’t see the comments.
I don’t know about you, but on a lot of videos, no matter how mundane the content, there are often a number of comments that are downright vulgar. Frankly, I don’t want my boys seeing that garbage. I have a hard time letting them surf YouTube knowing that even though the video they are watching is completely fine, the comments may be disgusting. Case in point, I did a quick search for Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” video on YouTube. The first two comments are in the clip below (sorry if I offend anyone, and they just get worse). This girl is a role model for millions of kids, this video has had almost 38 million views, and there are unfortunately a lot of comments like the one below:
The same video in Cooliris can be viewed by kids without parents having to worry about inappropriate comments. And you can link out to the original at YouTube easily if you want to. It’s a bit of a relief to be able to let my kids surf music videos in Cooliris without worrying about obscene comments (I still have to keep an eye on the videos they watch). I love YouTube and we find a lot of great entertainment there. It’s just nice to have a way that my kids can view fun content without worrying about what they are going to find if they scroll. If you’re a parent of small kids, or an elementary school teacher who uses YouTube for kids to find content, you may want to give Cooliris a try.
The last few months have been very busy with development at Cooliris, and we’re starting to see our new stuff roll out the virtual door. In the last week we’ve released Cooliris 1.11.5 (yes, this is the craziest numbering scheme ever) which is focused on improved performance, particularly on Windows machines, and on IE. On some older Windows machines our performance hasn’t been where we’d like it, so with a lot of focused effort from our engineers we were able to improve Wall scrolling performance by 30%. If you haven’t tried Cooliris in a while, give it a shot.
We’re also proud to announce support for Bing image search. We’ve had a lot of requests for Bing support from our user base, so with the use of Bing’s api’s we were able to add it into our image search offerings. You can launch Bing search either directly from Bing through the Cooliris mouseover icon, from the Cooliris launch button in your toolbar or directly from the search box in Cooliris. Because Bing search offers almost endless results, the looking for images from Bing in Cooliris is a great experience.
We have a lot more things coming soon. In the meantime, check out some spooky fun that we put together for Halloween, including some great old episodes of “Twilight Zone”.
Ah, the Pre. It’s so Zen, so well integrated, so pretty. The default ringtones sound like rain, or gentle guitar strings. My background image looks like a Monet. It’s gorgeous. The integrated messaging just works – it’s seamless. I can very simply switch between AIM and Text when trying to reach my husband. The WebOS is great – I can multitask like crazy, send mail or IM’s while I’m talking on the phone. The shape is great and that awesome little docking station that lets the phone charge just sitting on it is so cool. And it’s functional too – I can see stuff as it comes in. And it does smart things too – in my meeting reminders it has a one-button click to email someone if I’m running late (very handy in the car – the message is pre-set as well). It doesn’t have a ton of apps, but I’m not a big app user so I’ve been fine with Sudoku and Spaz. And Sprint wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. The coverage area isn’t as good as AT&T, but the when the calls worked they were extremely clear.
I’ve had the phone just less than three months. I figured that a 1.0 phone wouldn’t be perfect, but that it would be okay. And it was okay for a while. In fact, it was great for a while.
And here’s the “but…”. First, the battery life. I don’t think it can go 6 hours without charging, and that’s if I’m not doing anything with it. It can’t hold a charge overnight, or for a full workday. I started really worrying about ski season, where I’m out for 8 hours with small kids doing risky things at high speeds all over the mountains, and I knew that the Pre wasn’t going to last a full day without a charge. Particularly not in the cold. So was I going to have to get a second phone just for skiing?
Next there was the simple issue with speed. The WebOS is really cool (someone should buy Palm just to get it – it’s impressive) but it’s a pig. It’s S-L-O-W. If I ran more than three apps, it slowed to a crawl. If I let Spaz (the twitter app) run for any length of time, it would actually start to heat up and devour battery. I had a Blackberry for many years prior to the Pre, and I was used to clicking an icon and having the app just launch. That wasn’t always the case with the Pre – sometimes it could take a several second lag before launching. As I used it more I found myself holding my finger down on an icon to get it to launch. I’d find myself pressing harder to get it to launch (like when you talk louder to someone who doesn’t speak English to make them understand you…with the same result).
What really started getting me was the random hanging and random reboots. I’d often have it sitting on the dock for several hours at work, and then I’d pick it up to go out and it would be completely hung. I’d have to reboot. This happened a couple times a week. In the last month, it started to reboot for no reason almost daily.
Then there was the phone – which in theory is why I bought it in the first place. I set up auto-dial codes for my frequently dialed numbers, but after the first time I couldn’t get them to work. (I was back to the “if I press the #T long enough and hard enough maybe it will work?) The main phone interface is the keypad, so I had to type in the name of the contact to get them, which was a total pain in the car. But worse yet, if you bumped the phone icon, you’d find it autodialing people. I have no idea how many colleagues I’ve auto-dialed in the last month, but it’s a lot (sorry folks). Thankfully I didn’t auto-dial 911 like my friendSteven Heintz, but it started to become super annoying regardless. And when I’d try to get the mis-dialed call to drop, it would take several seconds – I’d be pounding on the hang up button. Really frustrating. So I got to the point where I didn’t want to even use the phone unless I had to.
I found myself just not using the Pre. I didn’t use it for email as gmail didn’t come in about 2/3 of the time. The phone part was a pain and a liability. It was great for texting, but that’s not a great reason to have a smart phone.
And then… I dropped it. It was in its case, but the screen cracked a little. On the Pre, if the screen cracks, it doesn’t really work. At first I could sort of work around it, but within a day it does what a chipped windshield does in the cold – it splintered. I suddenly had a crack the length of the screen. And not only did the screen not work anymore, it took on a life of its own. If I bumped it in the wrong place, it would call people and I’d have no way to shut it off – I’d click the shutdown button and it would happily pop back on. Finally it started just dialing random numbers on its own. My son and I got a big kick watching it dial about 40-odd 6’s and 5’s for no reason – it was on autodial.
Fortunately I knew the battery would die soon and my liability would end!
So Saturday I went down to the Sprint store to see what my options were. Now, I drop devices frequently, so I pad them appropriately and buy warranties. I had the insurance on the phone – but the deductible was $100! How much to get out of my 2 year Sprint contract with 21 months left on it? $200. So at a minimum I had to spend $100 on a phone that I wasn’t liking – with “overnight delivery” that would get it to me on Tuesday?! (side note – have all the unemployed car salespeople become cell phone salespeople? Except at Apple?)
So I cruised down to the Apple store. They had me up and running on an iPhone with my number ported in 45 minutes. 35 minutes of that was spent on hold with Sprint trying to get my customer account number. When I called them at first and finally reached a human to tell them that I wanted to discontinue my service, she promptly dumped me back into the general hold queue for another 20 minutes. I didn’t even tell the second person that I wanted to discontinue service, I just got my account number.
How do I like my iPhone? So far so good. The phone works great and it hasn’t dialed any random colleagues in the last 24 hours. I still have to get my work mail configured and my contacts ported in – that has not been simple at all but I’m guessing it’s an RTFM issue. And given that the rest of my computing devices are all Apple, this should simplify my life a bit more. Always a good thing.
After nearly three years, multiple product releases, three MAX‘s, a Bus, trains, a Flash branding overhaul, countless events and the creation of a fantastic Flash Platform developer relations and marketing team, I’m leaving Adobe and headed to Cooliris.
Leaving Adobe was extraordinarily hard. When I came to the Platform team at Adobe, it was very much a start-up environment. We were working on Adobe AIR (then Apollo) and I had a pretty small team of product managers and developer relations folks. We built up the marketing and evangelism teams, as well as open source and standards. In those rare times where you get to build a team from scratch and have the ability to attract and hire the best, you can do amazing things. And we did. AIR downloads hit over 200M a few months ago, Flash Player penetration has never happened so quickly and the Flex developer base has been growing by 150% a year. The Adobe Developer Connection was overhauled and cookbooks and Labs took off. Our great PR team managed to set a new record for the number of times a product was launched with AIR. We even won awards for the most innovative marketing programs with the onAIR bus tour.
The momentum around the Flash Platform is incredible right now. So why leave?
A few months ago I was reviewing my profile on LinkedIn. I noticed that it said “Internet Product Executive” and “I love to create great consumer products that are used by millions of people…” and it got me thinking about how far my job had moved away from that world. Certainly Flash and AIR are used by millions of consumers, but we’re one step removed. Now, I love developer marketing, did that for the better part of nine years at Silicon Graphics, and was having a blast with it at Adobe. And I had just inherited mobile, which was really interesting and a great learning opportunity. But I was also finding that I was spending more of my time in the enterprise software world, and that is just not my area of expertise. It was becoming clear that to continue to grow at the rate we were at, enterprise needed to become more of my focus, but that wasn’t really where my passion lies. So I did what I hadn’t done for several years – I answered a recruiter and after a fairly short process found myself accepting an offer at Cooliris.
I’m very excited about Cooliris. The current product is …cool. It’s a really fun and efficient way to find one of your own photos or to navigate photos and video across the web, from Facebook to Google Images. It saved me 45 minutes one night looking for a picture of one of my kids for school. However, it’s the long term vision for the company that is really compelling – trying to solve some very difficult and growing issues with the web that, if we are successful, will make the web even better for hundreds of millions of people. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to help grow a company, which will be a new experience for me. The team is great, and totally passionate about creating great user experiences.
So, while I miss all my friends and colleagues at Adobe and in the Flash community, I’m excited about being able to help move the web forward. If you try Cooliris (and please do!), shoot me an email and let me know what you think (and most importantly, what else it needs to do!). My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Lynch announced today at MAX Japan in Tokyo that Adobe AIR has been installed on consumer desktops over 100 million times and that Flash Player 10 has been installed on over 55% of connected desktops worldwide in just two months. The AIR number comes in less than a year since it was released and what is really great is that we’ve seen the numbers accellerate due to the rapid growth in the number of social media apps built on AIR such as Tweetdeck and Twhirl. In terms of runtimes, AIR is still really early but is really starting to hit stride with developers and consumers. Almost every day I talk to customers who are doing something with AIR or hear about new AIR apps that have sprung up in the community. Like any new technology, some of what we’re seeing is experimental and do fun and interesting things for the sake of being fun and interesting, but don’t have a lot of practical value. The flip side is the strong adoption numbers of some of the AIR apps that we’ve seen that are highly functional and fill a market need. I’ve personally reached a point where I usually have at least two AIR apps running all the time (Tweetdeck and Adobe Directory) and occasionally will realize that I have three or four running – pretty different from even six months ago.
The Flash Player 10 adoption numbers are simply amazing. They can also be a little confusing. When we release a player, it’s backward compatible, so it can always play older versions of Flash content. So when we measure the number of machines that can play Flash content on the web, we’re at over 98% of connected desktops worldwide. The important thing to us is that the most recent versions of the player achieve very high adoption rates – we’re at well over 90% adoption for Flash Player 9 (I don’t have the exact number). We typically test player adoption rates quarterly (Emmy Huang, Group Product Manager for Flash Player, has a great blog post on this). These results are published on a quarterly basis. What is really amazing is that Flash Player 10 has already been installed on half of the computers that can connect to the internet in eight weeks. There’s simply no other technology that has been adopted so quickly. And with the capabilities that Flash Player 10 has, when developers really start to take advantage of the new functionality we’re going to see some really amazing content and applications. Congrats to the AIR and Player teams – this is a big accomplishment!
Good news for Linux users – AIR 1.5 is now available. You can get the release at http://get.adobe.com/air/ . This should fix issues for a number of Linux users who used apps like Tweetdeck and Twhirl that upgraded to AIR 1.5 before the Linux release is out.
I was lucky enough to give the opening session welcome this morning at MAX Milan. We have a great crowd of over 1300 developers and designers from all over Europe and beyond (45 countries I’m told) – I even ran into someone from Dubai today. The sessions are going well, and we’ve had good blog coverage of the event so far. We have a big group of press at the event – over 70 journalists and bloggers are here. The guys from Dutch Cowboys are taking video interviews, we have several folks live blogging and twitter has two streams going – #maxmilan and #maxeurope. The Adobe community across Europe has grown dramatically in the past year, in part from the onAIR tour we did last summer, and in part because of the great evangelism team we have here now.
Next up is the Open Source BOF, and then I’m getting peaks at the MAX Award winners for the announcement tomorrow ;).
I spent most of today watching the final keynote dress rehearsal for MAX 2008 at Moscone West. I’ve seen it all before, and I STILL got chills! We have a lot of cool stuff coming out today – AIR 1.5 launches, with the new SquirrelFish engine, support for encrypted SQLite, and full Flash Player 10 awesomeness inside. Speaking of Flash Player 10, a 64-bit version for Linux is now available on Labs. The long awaited Thermo release – now to be known as Adobe Flash Catalyst – will be available for Mac users at the show (and will be up on labs for Mac and Win in a few months). Along with Flash Catalyst is the Flex Builder 4 preview release, code named Gumbo. In addition to the streamlined design/develop workflow that it enables with Flash Catalyst, Gumbo will also have additional functionality to support data-centric development. For anyone who wants to understand where Adobe is headed with our programming tools, you’ll see it with Gumbo.
We also have new FMS releases available, and the cocomo api’s will be available on labs for Flex developers to add social functionality quickly and easily into their apps.
There are some cool surprises in store for all the MAX attendees – you’re going to have a great time, and walk away with all the latest and greatest on the Adobe Flash Platform. See you at MAX!
Oh, and see you at MAX Milan on December 1st – that’s going to rock too!
As I sit on hold waiting for a Comcast customer support person to help me get our internet back up and running, an ad comes on for Comcast VOIP phone service.
I can’t get my cable modem working correctly, and you want me to trust you with my phone?
The true irony though is the marketing genius who thought that running those ads to captive customers waiting for *support for their cable internet service* would be a good idea. Not!