What I want in a browser

Since I just got done complaining about how much I hate having to download additional applications and plug-ins in order to use the online content I want to use, I should now point out that the web-browser needs a major overhaul in order to be compatible with the internet of the future. Having to use various additional programs like iTunes, the Odeo Syncr, Veoh, DTV etc, in order to manage online content is not acceptable. One program that manages the online experience is the way it needs to be and that one program is the web-browser. Here I will announce some of my demands for a more user-friendly browser and in turn, a better internet experience in general.

Bookmarks. I want multiple views of my bookmarks. I want to be able to view my bookmarks in order of how recently I added the bookmark, alphabetically by the “title” I give a bookmark as well as alphabetically by the actual URL, and I want subgroups for my bookmarks or folders that I can organize how I see fit. Apple’s Safari does this in a way, but the user must go to a new view to manage it all. I really think it needs to be more “live” than it is, more like an active toolbar. One click re-ordering of bookmarks would be nice.

Also, I want bookmarks to be dynamic. It would be great if my bookmarks could change color when a site has been updated. And how about this: If a site happens to be an RSS feed with embedded media, like Rocketboom’s feed or the Four Eyed Monsters Video Podcast, the bookmark could have a third color to indicate that there is new media to download. Then, with a right-click on the bookmark, I could select “Download New Media” from the little menu. See? Then I wouldn’t have to GO TO a site in order to get its audio/video content. And I wouldn’t waste any time going to a site that hasn’t changed since I was there last.

Another thing that would improve the online experience for me is to be able to view the heading of the most recent article of numerous RSS feeds in one page-view. This would effectively be kind of like having a “My Yahoo” built into the browser.

In addition, assuming that we’re going to continue to have a player/jukebox type application in addition to a browser, I think it’s time to resolve all this download-path drama. When I download a video, I want it to be waiting for me in iTunes when I’m ready to watch videos, complete with an “Unseen” indicater dot next to it like an unviewed podcast. That goes for audio content too. ID3 tags, or other embedded data could effect where the browser downloads to, so if the tag says podcast, the file gets saved to the appropriate directory, not the desktop [unless you want it there].

I did a rough hack-n-slash in Photoshop to provide a visual example of some of these things as if they were implemented into Apple’s Safari browser. Green bookmark could mean a site has changed since I last visited it. Blue could mean there’s something new to download. In this picture, the most recent entry from six different feeds is shown.

I will be writing more about what I would like to see happen to the web-browser as I continue to realize how much is missing from my daily internet experience.

By the way, why can’t the OS have an “UN-OPENED” indication on ALL files on all drives? So when you download something, perhaps the file name could be red instead of black until you actually open the file for the first time. That would be great. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have thought of that. It can be hard to find files sometimes and it seems like I’m looking for files I’ll be opening for the first time about half the time i’m digging at all.

Hey Apple: Get right on these things! OK? Oh, and by the way, don’t charge me for the upgrade either!

What I hate about the iTunes Music Store, Veoh and Odeo…

Software. Damn if I have to download and install more RSS aggregation programs! I have Odeo, Itunes & Veoh. I need them all because there isn’t a one-stop for all media embedded in RSS feeds.

Why? Why is Apple playing the proprietorship game? Why did they make special iTunes XML tags without which, you cannot be in their directory of “free” content? Why do you have to have a credit card number on file with them in order to submit a feed?

Meanwhile, Odeo has a pretty good setup. It allows Tags like Technorati which is cool, but it doesn’t work so well with the iTunes program, which I like.

I just got Veoh running. It’s cool. There’s a fair amount of content on there. And for the maker of content, they’ll allow you to upload the videos, or submit a feed. Oh- and Veoh implements BitTorrent apparently. Gotta give ’em props for that.

But When I’m looking through Veoh’s content, Or the iTMS’s podcasts, I can’t help it wonder: Why the hell do I have to use THEIR software to browse what is essentially just a website? Odeo’s site is just that, a website. Same with BlipTV. I get to browse using MY browser, not some stripped-down near-browser like Veoh’s program or iTunes when you go to the iTMS. But I’ll be damned, I have to launch the Odeo Syncer if I want my Odeo subscriptions to start downloading, and BlipTV doesn’t do auto-download.

Is it just me or shouldn’t all this be built right into a user’s regular web-browser?

And speaking of browsers, when are Apple and Microsoft finally going to realize that there’s no advantage to them in not letting the other’s users get the latest plug-in… I think I’m like 3 versions behind on my Windows Media Player plugin. And it seemed like it took forever for Apple to release H.264 Quicktime for Windows users.

Flash, Quicktime, Real Player, Acrobat Reader, Windows Media, Shockwave!! Isn’t it supposed to be the nineties or something?!? Shouldn’t nice new computers be able to view the internet right out of the box?

There’s no advantage for these companies to make an internet user’s experience less enjoyable.

You may sense my frustration. I wish Apple, Microsoft, Macromedia and all these emerging audio/video content channels did.

Gee Whizzz.

Prediction: EDITED ooops

In the near future, the cable-television industry, The telephone companies, with their fiber-optic broadband infrastructure will win out over the telephone companies, the cable-television industry, as internet service providers and as providers of voice-communication. Around the same time we will begin to see the personal computer replace the television.

Video and Audio On-Demand will become Cheap and Easy.

ok…

I realize now that i need to do this, so let me just jump right in:

Obviously, if you care, and if you’ve been paying attention, there’s a lot going on right now in the realm of “free” online “content.” Mostly, these things stem from the widespread implementation of RSS: Blogging, Podcasting, Vlogging, Video-Podcasting Etc… Then there’s the content GO-TO’s. Things like: the iTunes Music Store, Veoh, VideoEgg, all the other podcast/blog “aggregaters,” like Odeo Etc, then sites and services like Current_TV, PutFile Etc… There’s the RSS-consolidation sites, like Technorati, And now the search-engines like Google and Yahoo are getting into providing video content too…

I’m asking myself constantly: “Where is this going?”

Instead of ANSWERING in bold print, I think I need to be asking more questions…

Why is this happening? Why is it a good thing? What is standing in the way?
What are some of the Frustrations faced by USERS of these new technologies in the “media landscape” that is emerging?
What would be more IDEAL for the users and content creators? What improvements need to be made to these new and tenative infrastructures in order for any of them to last?

I think I need to start with where I imagine this is going… Or actually, WHY is it going? I don’t consider myself a visionary, but I think I undersand the push that’s going on right now and some of the causes of it:

*Media in general is too expensive, and lacking in quality.

*As expansive and open as the WWW is, it is difficult to find good content online.

*File-sharing has devalued traditional content for the internet’s most effective [and important] users.

*In general, creatives do not make nearly as much on a media product as the providers/distibutors do [big problem for me because I’m a multi-artist].

*As of recently, the price of decent-quality audio and video production equipment has become low enough to make it possible for there to be so much new, varying, decent-quality content out there on the web.

*BitTorrent, or “file-sharing” at large has made it possible for nearly any intellegent, and/or slightly saavy creative-type to get ahold of professional software for free, however often illegally.

I will probably edit this, but for now those are the main factors I see driving this shift, which is effectively the shift toward the internet as THE ONLY PLACE TO GO.

[this is my intro-post…more to come]