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.
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.
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.
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.