Collaborative Browsing

In this day and age of social networking frenzy, I am surprised the concept of collaborative browsing or Co-Browsing has not caught on yet. How is that possible? Doesn’t it make sense to be able to see who’s visiting the websites that you are visiting in real-time? Wouldn’t it be cool if we could communicate with those people who obviously have the same interest as you do because you’re both on the same website?

I think it would be a blast to be able to surf with friends too. We can chat and comment on what we see, perhaps help each other out with finding what we’re looking for. Perhaps collaborate on a project too.

We have tools that almost give us this ability. There is the MyBlogLog widget that shows who has visited you website but that isn’t always real-time and there’s no way to communicate with them on there.

There are also many types of IM widgets you can embed on your site that will allow you to chat live with visitors but it still isn’t the same thing as co-browsing because you can only do that on a single website, your own site or blog. Co-browsing would allow you to do this on ANY website in real-time.

Enter Bumpin, the best co-browsing experience I’ve seen in many years. It allows you to do all of the things discussed thus far such as viewing everyone visiting the same websites you are and the ability to chat live with them. You can remain invisible or become visible any time you want with the click of a button. You can send broadcast messages to everyone visiting the site or send private messages.

There’s a small plugin to install but there’s also a web-version you can use in case you are prevented from installing anything at work or on a public computer. The only downside is that Bumpin only supports the Firefox browser at this time. Here’s a 5 minute demo of what it can do.

[googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3009461557320389698&hl=en]


I was informed of a new service called Medium http://me.dium.com (see comments section) that really impressed me. It’s what I’ve been envisioning for the future of the web, a more interpersonal and collaborate surfing experience. Install a small plugin and it changes your web world. I think they have the right idea here and I look for big things to happen with this technology.

Here’s an overview of what Medium offers. Here’s their tutorial that gives more information about their innovative service and the wave of the future.

***Update***

Since publishing this post, Medium has changed its name and focus to something totally different. What a shame. They’re OneRiot now and no longer that exciting to me. Just another search engine site.

SocialBrowse is a new Firefox extension that works similar to medium. You can communicate with other surfers in realtime from the sidebar.
socialbrowse

Final Thoughts:

I am hoping that this feature will become a common part of every browser and thus part of everyone’s browsing experience someday soon. I fully expected the Flock browser to have this ability but I was stunned to see it didn’t. Sure, Flock had a cool Twitter plugin but not a true co-browsing experience like Bumpin does. I still think Flock will add this ability very soon. Perhaps Microsoft will follow with their Internet Explorer and Apple with Safari? We shall see.

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  • http://me.dium.com/ Brent Daily

    Hey Paisano,
    Great write up on collaborative browsing. Though still in its infancy, it is definitely starting to catch on as more folks like you write about it. In the interest of full disclosure, I work at Me.dium (http://me.dium.com) and we have a collaborative browsing add-on the works for FF 2.0+, IE7.0+, Flock and Songbird.

    Our company was founded on the belief that we are all social animals. And while more of our lives are moving online (via social networks, microblogging etc.) that experience is still a solitary one. It’s actually very difficult to share experiences with your friends.

    If you have the time I’d love to hear your thoughts about our solution to collaborative browsing (you should see some changes in the coming few weeks as well). We believe that surfing with friends is going to change the way we use the Internet. So feel free to jump on and surf with me or anyone on the team. My Me.dium username is: brentd.

    Take care.
    Brent

  • http://me.dium.com Brent Daily

    Hey Paisano,
    Great write up on collaborative browsing. Though still in its infancy, it is definitely starting to catch on as more folks like you write about it. In the interest of full disclosure, I work at Me.dium (http://me.dium.com) and we have a collaborative browsing add-on the works for FF 2.0+, IE7.0+, Flock and Songbird.

    Our company was founded on the belief that we are all social animals. And while more of our lives are moving online (via social networks, microblogging etc.) that experience is still a solitary one. It’s actually very difficult to share experiences with your friends.

    If you have the time I’d love to hear your thoughts about our solution to collaborative browsing (you should see some changes in the coming few weeks as well). We believe that surfing with friends is going to change the way we use the Internet. So feel free to jump on and surf with me or anyone on the team. My Me.dium username is: brentd.

    Take care.
    Brent

  • http://me.dium.com/ Brent Daily

    P.S. If you’d like to check out a couple videos we cut recently talking about Me.dium you can view it here (view in full screen when you click through):

    http://blogme.dium.com/content/2008/04/wtf-learn-about-medium-click-here/

  • http://me.dium.com Brent Daily

    P.S. If you’d like to check out a couple videos we cut recently talking about Me.dium you can view it here (view in full screen when you click through):

    http://blogme.dium.com/content/2008/04/wtf-learn-about-medium-click-here/

  • http://www.cortneysellers.com/ Cortney

    Interesting – collaborative browsing has been around for awhile, just not in the same sense. AOL used to have a feature called “Road Trips” where there were hosts that would take you on a “virtual tour” of topic specific sites. It was a lot of fun as a host and a participant to find new ideas. I’ll check these two concepts out and see about reviving some of my old ideas from 10 years ago. :) Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.cortneysellers.com Cortney

    Interesting – collaborative browsing has been around for awhile, just not in the same sense. AOL used to have a feature called “Road Trips” where there were hosts that would take you on a “virtual tour” of topic specific sites. It was a lot of fun as a host and a participant to find new ideas. I’ll check these two concepts out and see about reviving some of my old ideas from 10 years ago. :) Thanks for the post!

  • http://thepaisano.wordpress.com/ Paisano

    Cortney
    I know the concept has been around forever, which was the point I was trying to make here. How come it still hasn’t become more commonplace or more popular? I think it will someday, it just needs the right service and features and it will take off for sure. I think Medium is on the right track. We will see what happens in this space as I am positive that it will become an extremely hot topic very soon much like social networking aggregation is today (over-saturated actually).

    p.s. I forget the names but I used to love a couple of co-browsing services that not only let you see who’s on the same website as you but it also let you drive and actually push URLs to your group’s browsers for a virtual tour like AOL’s road trip like you mentioned.
    There are some services like LivePerson.com that let tech support personal do a similar thing. They can chat with any visitor to the site and push webpages to their browser and share canned responses.
    But that’s more for support and sales.

  • http://thepaisano.wordpress.com Paisano

    Cortney
    I know the concept has been around forever, which was the point I was trying to make here. How come it still hasn’t become more commonplace or more popular? I think it will someday, it just needs the right service and features and it will take off for sure. I think Medium is on the right track. We will see what happens in this space as I am positive that it will become an extremely hot topic very soon much like social networking aggregation is today (over-saturated actually).

    p.s. I forget the names but I used to love a couple of co-browsing services that not only let you see who’s on the same website as you but it also let you drive and actually push URLs to your group’s browsers for a virtual tour like AOL’s road trip like you mentioned.
    There are some services like LivePerson.com that let tech support personal do a similar thing. They can chat with any visitor to the site and push webpages to their browser and share canned responses.
    But that’s more for support and sales.

  • Jason

    I like the simplicity of BumpIn. Me.dium’s UI is broken in many ways. It’d be great to see how these two companies gain user traction.

    Just looking at Me.dium’s website, they seem to have raised an aweful amount of money, while BumpIn appears to be a typical tech-heavy little startup. I am betting on BumpIn.com …

  • Jason

    I like the simplicity of BumpIn. Me.dium’s UI is broken in many ways. It’d be great to see how these two companies gain user traction.

    Just looking at Me.dium’s website, they seem to have raised an aweful amount of money, while BumpIn appears to be a typical tech-heavy little startup. I am betting on BumpIn.com …

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