Cooliris picture viewer going socio-local with Liveshare

Cooliris, which originally made a whizzy plug-in for displaying images from the Web, is finally expanding beyond just making software that leeches on the install of other products (browsers) and is delivering an actual unique business. It feels like a small play to me, but it's focused and addresses a real opportunity.

The company is re-releasing Liveshare, a mobile, social, photo-sharing app designed for venues and events. The idea is that people at an event, like a concert, will use the app to snap pictures on their smartphones. Since the phones know their location and time, it's easy … Read more

Cooliris turns Wikipedia into an iPad magazine

The first thing that should come to mind when you think of Cooliris is photos. The company is well known for its imaging products, which include a very snazzy cross-platform browser add-on, an iPhone app, and embedded Web site and mobile phone technology. All of these are able to turn a collection of photos into an interactive, 3D wall, be it in on your browser, Web site, or cell phone.

But with its latest creation for Apple's iPad, called Discover, Cooliris is moving beyond the presentation and organization of photos and into something a little more pedestrian: text.

Discover, which was submitted to Apple on Tuesday, takes content from Wikipedia--both text and still images (but mostly just text), and splits it up into sections. These can be flipped through with your finger, instead of scrolling down a large page in Safari. The app also keeps track of where you've been so you can retrace your reading path if you've gone several pages deep.

"When the iPad came out, we took an idea we had, and said 'this is probably a perfect platform to try it on,'" Cooliris' executive VP of products Michele Turner told CNET. "This new application takes structured data--in this case Wikipedia, as the starting point. We've then created a templatized starting page and structured data from Wikipedia to let users navigate the depths of Wikipedia in a beautiful and efficient way."

The end result is a Wikipedia with larger text that can be read like an e-book, and photos that can be thumbed through and scaled up to the iPad's full resolution. The app also takes advantage of orientation to reposition, or expand or consolidate the data it's showing. Along the way, Cooliris serves up advertisements, which is where it can make some of its money given the app's free price tag.

But why Wikipedia, and not a larger chunk of the Internet, as something like the recently popular Flipboard has done with RSS feeds? The short answer is that it's not there yet, but it will be soon. Turner and company do, in fact, envision Discover as a platform for various data feeds from around the Web. "We have over 100 content partners in the mainstream Cooliris product," Turner said. "The longer term opportunity is to work with the content partners to flow into this application, but that's kind of down the line."

Eventually the company plans to bring it to other platforms, including Android tablets. In making the iPad iteration of Discover, the company even built one for the iPhone, though Turner says it didn't feel quite right given the smaller form factor.

More pics of Discover can be seen after the break.… Read more

Browse through a wall of images and videos

The Cooliris Firefox plug-in (Mac or Windows) is one of the most popular extensions in our library. Fire it up once, and you'll see why: Cooliris turns your image or movie searches into a 3D wall that is easy to navigate and just plain cool looking. When they came out with an app for iPhone some time ago, it didn't have enough of the cool features to make it worthwhile. But they've just released version 1.5 for iPhone and after giving it a test drive, I think it might be worthy of another look.

Cooliris for iPhoneRead more

Latest version of Cooliris embraces browser tabs

Cooliris has just released a new version of its add-on that lets users run multiple instances of its media browsing wall in different tabs of the same browser. Previously, the only way to get it to run like this was to open it in different browsers. This way you can have one tab open to search YouTube videos, another that's browsing online photos, and a third that's playing a TV show off of Cooliris' interface.

Users are only limited in the number of Cooliris tabs they can have by what their computer is capable of. I … Read more

Cooliris for iPhone gets bookmarking, porn mode

CoolIris for iPhone has just received a hot update...and we do mean hot. New on the list of features is the capability to turn Google's SafeSearch on or off, which according to the company was one of the most requested features. The app remembers your preferences between sessions, giving you a wider gamut of results that can be, well, NSFW.

Why is this so important? If you're familiar with Apple's app store reviews process and guidelines you'll know the company has been rather stringent. So much so, it won't even let you view the … Read more

Cooliris gets local file support, Linux version

Photo and video enhancer Cooliris (download) has launched an updated version of its browser add-on that brings new features including support for viewing local media, file specific metadata, and a Facebook photo viewer that shows user name tags. It's also available--for the first time, to Linux users.

A few weeks ago I met with Shashi Seth, Cooliris' chief revenue officer, and Austin Shoemaker who is the company's CTO to talk about the release, which they say has addressed some of the top requests from their users. The biggest being the capability to view local photos and videos from their computer's hard drive inside of Cooliris' 3D media wall, which users on all three platforms can now do.

This basically turns your browser into an ad-hoc media center, something Shoemaker says has been created to be a unified experience across multiple platforms. For instance, if you're on a Mac, it links up with iPhoto, and if you're on a PC, it organizes your "my pictures" folder by album. Either way, you see your stuff without telling the service where to go to find it.

But what about Web content you ask? It's also been given a boost--literally. The new version has a visual effects engine that take better advantage of users' graphics hardware. For Mac users the tool is using OpenGL, and on Windows it's Direct 3D. Seth says it runs lean enough that most hardware from the last five years or so should have no problems with it. In my brief testing I ran it on a 3- year-old PC with barely a hiccup, however it's noticeably smoother on my other machine with a beefier graphics card.

Additionally, the tool now displays a much broader selection of metadata from selected sites. When viewing photos from Picasa Web Albums and Google Image search, or videos from YouTube, it now shows things like view count, user ratings, exposure, aperture, and resolution. This unfortunately… Read more

Webware Radar: Stickam brings streaming to Java-enabled phones

Online streaming video service Stickam announced that its offering is now available to all Java-enabled phones. Users will be able to stream video over the Web from their mobile phones with the help of the company's app, Stickam Mobile. According to the company, Stickam Mobile is now available to more than 100 Java-enabled devices, including models from RIM, LG, Nokia, and HTC. The Android-based G1 from T-Mobile is also supported.

Online photo-editing service Picnik announced Monday that it has inked a deal with social-publishing platform Wetpaint. According to the company, Wetpaint's publishing offering will now feature Picnik's … Read more

Futzing with features: Firefox add-ons in 2008

As performance reasserts its prominence and features become less of the driving force behind browsers, I find myself looking at the list of inactive extensions in Firefox with jaundiced eyes. It's been months since I've added a new extension, but the ones I still have I use regularly, and several are actually new to me for this year.

Part of the problem with add-ons is that they're such a personal, subjective thing. What do you need? Why do you need it? One of my favorites is a minor, tiny thing, but it saves me so much time … Read more

Cooliris adds YouTube search, image save to iPhone app

Cooliris has put out a useful update to its iPhone application that adds YouTube videos to its search results. This joins the image search that made the application so popular to begin with.

You might be asking yourself how this is helpful since the iPhone comes with an official YouTube application. The answer to that is that Cooliris' presentation is slightly more appealing. Where the official YouTube app forces you to scroll down a long list, with Cooliris you can simply rock your phone back and forth an endless array of thumbnails until you find something you like. Videos play … Read more

Amazon launches WindowShop: A 3D shopping experience

WindowShop is a new content-viewing layer for If you've ever used Cooliris' PicLens before, you'll feel right at home, as WindowShop turns Amazon's selection of online goods into a giant wall, which you can scroll back and forth across, and zoom in and out of to find things to buy. The tool was built by Amazon and runs entirely off its S3 storage service.

Within the giant wall of product thumbnails, each of Amazon's sales categories is broken down into interactive tiles which can take up nearly your entire browser window when zoomed. Movies, … Read more