Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Question: Building A Better Web

We’re thinking of creating an internet company to take advantage of our vast internet experience! What feature would you like to see added to the web? The sky's the limit! Consider yourselves unpaid interns and get to work! :-)


Anonymous said...

Pretty open-ended question!

Some of these might fall under the category of "browser features" as opposed to features of the Internet itself. And I'm sure Google is working on some of this stuff.

-An end to pop-up ads.
-The ability to disable only certain ads on websites, but not others.
-The definitive spam blocker.
-Make Flash faster! (At least for Macs.)
-The ability to disseminate information among multiple websites at once. I'd love to apply for three different jobs on three different sites without having to enter my work history three times.
-The ability to copy multiple items (urls, text, etc.) to the clipboard, like on Microsoft Office.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I'm liking the idea of tying your house to the net. For example, I like the idea of having a way to regulate your lights, your heater or A/C, etc. from a distance.

Other cool things I've run into recently are letting you search the web while you're driving along the highway. That's let us book hotels or find restaurants right in the middle of our trip, which gives a lot more flexibility when traveling.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I'm liking the idea of tying your house to the net. For example, I like the idea of having a way to regulate your lights, your heater or A/C, etc. from a distance.

Other cool things I've run into recently are letting you search the web while you're driving along the highway. That let us book hotels or find restaurants right in the middle of our trip, which gives a lot more flexibility when traveling.

Anonymous said...

I also like that idea, re: tying your house to the net. The cynic in me thinks, "Great, one more problem." But it'd be cool to turn on and off lights and set shows to record from anywhere with a net connection. (I think you can already do some of that now.)

Google Maps is getting there but I'd love to be able to pull up a map, select any building, and find out what it is. Obviously this would not apply to private residences but it could prove useful.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I agree, though the Google street view people are finding themselves in all kinds of trouble.

In any event, Google maps and their satellite view have been very useful for finding things and figuring out how to get there much better than the old version of having a map.

The other thing I'd like to see along those lines is more things like museum tours. We should be able to do a virtual walk-through of the Smithsonian and publicly owned places like that.

Anonymous said...

They're actually working on something similar: Google Store View. Click here.

I think it's totally impractical. Cool, yes, but I don't really need to do 360-degree pans of the mens department of my local Target.

I like your idea but I imagine most museums would be concerned about losing ticket sales if virtual tours were available online for free.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Probably true. But with public institutions, I think they should put all of this out there for the public, not just those who can get there.

By the way, I've spend days wandering the Smithsonian (and a couple days in the Louve) and it's totally worth it if you ever get the chance.

In terms of the 360 at Target, I'd honestly like to see online stores come up with a browse mode. Particularly someone like a book store or music store, there isn't really a great way to browse -- at least nothing comparable to flipping through the merchandise at the store.

patti said...

i would like it to keep me in double-meat cheeseburgers and rings. and throw out a cushion when it sees me about to bang my head on the desk. and clean the bathrooms while i troll for wonk. and maybe even tell me how to actually manipulate a worm hole so it doesn't take me so long to drive across texas.

you asked...

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Those are some big request, though not unreasonable! ;-) We'll get to work on solutions.

Texas takes a long time to cross? I never would have imagined? LOL!

Anonymous said...

I went to the Smithsonian years ago when they were doing the "Star Wars: Magic of Myth" exhibit (naturally!). I'd love to go back again. Click here for more info.

As for browsing, I get decent mileage out of Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought..." selection. I can keep clicking for hours till I find something I like. But as someone who enjoys a visit to a good bookstore, I know it's not the same as being there. And I wish they'd apply their "Look Inside!" feature to every book (but the publishers probably have a say in that).

It's funny. For years, tech people have been explaining the benefits of online shopping: you'll get e-mails and ads customized just for you! But in doing so, they ignore the meaningful experience browsing can be.

I've said that about a la carte cable (I'm split on it): if you get just the channels you want, what are the odds of stumbling across some movie in the middle of the night on some channel you'd never otherwise visit?

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I agree, they have never really focused on browsing. You can follow the "other people chose" links, but you can't really just flip through everything.

I totally agree about the look inside feature. I'm hesitant to buy a book unless I can see a few pages to see how the author writes and the such.

In terms of a la carte cable, I do know what you mean about finding things you weren't looking for -- like late night films or documentaries on something you didn't know would interest you. But I would still prefer the a la carte version. I do the satellite thing right now and I only have about 1/3 of the channels programmed in because the odds of seeing anything I'm interested in are just so low that I don't want to waste my time skipping over them. So I'd rather not pay for the other 2/3 channels.

Joel Farnham said...

The look inside feature is already available in Baen's books and a few others. It depends more on the author instead of the publisher. Authors who want their books widely read give one or two chapters. Authors sometimes even give out free e-books. I have found a few at Baen's free library.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I don't know Baen. I'll check them out. I think it makes a lot of sense to give out a chapter or so -- certainly a couple pages. That lets people see the style and decide if they like it. Plus, if it's a good chapter, then it would probably go a long way to hooking people to buy more.

MegaTroll said...

More troll friendly sites! Just kidding. But I wish they would come up with a search engine that lets you exclude commercial sites.

AndrewPrice said...

Mega, Great idea! Of course, that would probably hurt their business model. But maybe someone can come up with a work around?

Individualist said...

Well a proposal they have already said they are going to eventually implement is to expand the three character we b extensions (from .net, .com,.org, .edu, etc.) to 256 characters. This among other things would allow your coffee maker to be programmed through the net because it has an IP address which would be cool until someone figures out how to hack it and you wake up to a flood of coffee in the morning. Ah the Darkside!

The main thing that this would allow is that sites that are of a certain nature can be put together through the expanded domain exxtensions. This could lead to say a listing of "internet blue" domains where to access then you have to prove your age to your IP provider. Thus no more "How do I keep my kids from seeing the porn" issues.

I am told that to be able to do this they need to wait until all the connection lines are upgraded to fiber optic as their is not enough bandwidth but this is expensive. We'll see.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, That sounds like a great idea, except that I suspect the porn sites won't go for it -- they'll want to stay where anyone can stumble into them.

I love the idea of hacking someone's coffee maker! LOL!

Individualist said...


As I understand it and I learned of this about five years ago in web trainig for an IT Audit seminar the sites won't have a choice. The extensions would be assigned by providers and would somehow be controlled. Therefore if you had a pron site they would not allow you to have a child safe extension. The idea is that the Domain name or extension is not up to you. The characters before the extension are yours but those after are assigned like .com, .edu etc. So for instance you could have your last name as an extension such as ModelAirplanes.ClanSmithAero etc. but you could not have for instance BigJuggs.SafeForKids. Not sure exactly how they were going to control it myself.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I think that's a good idea. While I'm opposed to censorship, I have no problems with requiring people to put topic appropriate content under topic appropriate endings.

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