Glue is a contextual social network that sits within your browser, powered, until now, by a Firefox extension and therefore only Firefox compatible. Today however, the innovative startup, lead by CEO Alex Iskold, announces compatibility with Internet Explorer.
This is a major milestone for the company and after months of work developing and growing the semantic recognition engine, users will now enjoy the benefits of using the app with the two most popular web browsers.
How does Glue work?
Following installation of the extension, you simply browse the web as you would do normally, however where Glue gets useful is when browsing pages that include information about movies, music, books, music artists, restaurants and alike (sites like Amazon, Last.fm, IMBD).
Visually, Glue slides down in the form of a bar which acts as though it were part of the page. Via the Glue bar, you are able to “like” the item on the page (album, movie etc..) or leave a comment/review about the item. You’ll also see previous reviews from friends of yours and other recent visitors, no matter where the comment was originally made. Just to reiterate that point – it doesn’t matter if one of your friends reviewed the album on Last.fm or Amazon, the review will appear wherever you might be.
Making the most of Glue
You do feel more at home using Glue when you have existing friends on there, and thankfully Glue makes it easy as pie to find existing Twitter and Facebook friends that use the site – or invite others that aren’t already using it.
“Adding your 2c” (commenting) and liking the various movies and music you come across is a major part of the application and you’ll notice a healthy amount of discussion across the web – a good sign. With private messages and replies integrated, its actually very possible to have in depth discussions about a specific product, all of which adds to Glue’s usefulness.
Glue came to the iPhone at the end of last year with a basic application that brought your favorites and friend’s Glue activity to you, wherever you have your phone. ReadWriteWeb have an in-depth look at the iPhone application.
Most recently however, Glue announced the release of their API, capturing the attention of developers looking to make the most of the rich data Glue collects. Allen Stern over at CenterNetworks covered the announcement:
The company describes the API release as, “tapping into Glue’s databases and semantic recognition engine enabling fun & useful applications about people and things.” You can use the API to get popular lists, lookup user lists, create data streams, send info into Glue and access user profiles.
The goal of the API is to drive usage of Glue and the underlying data. The applications built using Glue should also provide new visibility for the Glue service.
So is it getting into?
Absolutely. If you’re an active Firefox or Internet Explorer, I would without hesitation recommend you try the service out. The beauty of Glue lies in the fact that there isn’t a URL of sorts to visit or web address to share, it’s contextual and the Glue bar only appears as and when it could be of use.
Safari and Opera users will be disappointed to know that there isn’t Glue integration available just yet, which unfortunately rules me out from using the service as often as I’d like to.
As wonderful a service as it is, there are two areas which I think could be improved upon:
1) The bar can surprise and in time, frustrate. Whilst it is elegantly integrated and designed, the bar slides down the entire web page and if you’re about to select a link on the page, it can frustratingly force to you move your mouse further down the screen. Sure, this might sound like a minor inconvenience but when its happens ten to twenty times a day, you can see how it might start to frustrate.
2) In regard to Glue without the extensions…there is no Glue. I’m a pretty mobile internet user, the primary reason why I use web apps over desktop applications is being able to switch between computers with little concern over how to get access to my information and services. Whilst I completely appreciate the most powerful integration will come from installing the extensions, an alternative for when installing extensions isn’t an option – would be wonderful. Possibly the same way StumbleUpon have made it possible to use their bar without having to install an extension of sorts.
That said, the benefits and potential of Glue completely outweigh any possible frustrations I may have personally. Its social-network-around-you is a wonderfully unique alternative to the destination based social networks out there and on a very basic level, having your friends thoughts and opinions essentially by your side day-in, day-out, as you browse for that next movie to watch, is priceless.