Cooliris Releases Its First Add-on for Firefox on Linux (Plus, Quick Impressions)

Cooliris Hulu Dollhouse Screenshot

Cooliris is announcing the release of its first Firefox Add-on compatible with the Linux platform. The new add-on has been tested and confirmed to work with Ubuntu 8.04, Fedora 10, and OpenSUSE 11. Requirements: Firefox 3, Flash 10 plugin, and the latest proprietary driver for your NVIDIA or ATI graphic card (Intel integrated graphics work “but with issues”). For those unfamiliar, Cooliris is a Flash-based application that ships as a Firefox add-on which provides users access to a variety online content sources like Hulu, YouTube, and Flickr. What’s more, Cooliris showcases its available content via a unique 3D navigation interface with dynamic pan and zoom.

Feature highlights:
3D navigation [video]
Access to Hulu, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Google Images, and others
Local file support for viewing photos from your PC
Metadata related to the content you’re viewing
Shopping (powered by Amazon)
Content Channels via “Discover”
Facebook support [video] for viewing images (with tags and titles)
Full list »

Quick impressions:
Since I have an Ubuntu PC handy, I took Cooliris for a spin. Overall the experience and performance was pretty good (tip: if Flash is running slow on your PC, turn off your Compiz effects). The interface is attractive and well laid out. Search works well, too. However, I felt that the navigation was a bit lacking (although the 3D effect is pretty cool). It would be nice to get a clearer idea if a thumbnail is an image, a web post, or a video without having to click on it (note: videos do have a small play icon). Also, videos from Hulu and YouTube played in standard resolution and I couldn’t make them go to true fullscreen — neither with the photos, for that matter. Another thing I’d love to see is dedicated pages for TV series on Hulu. For example, when I did a search for Dollhouse in Hulu, I got an unorganized group of Dollhouse videos with no dates or episode data other than the episode name. Lastly, “Discover” categories could benefit from provider channel links. Currently, when you click on something like “Sci-Tech”, you get a grouping of related videos from various providers with no publish dates or organizational structure.

My 2-cents:
Cooliris is off to a good start — especially now that it’s fully cross-platform compatible. It’s obvious the company has the 3D navigation feature down. Guys, now it’s time to work on presenting the content in ways that makes sense to the viewers in a structured format (possibly with social ranking and filters for media type). Future: consider making the navigation controllable via remote so people can couch surf content from their TV connected HTPC.

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Filed in: Content Providers, Software

1 Reaction to “Cooliris Releases Its First Add-on for Firefox on Linux (Plus, Quick Impressions)”

  1. GregW says:

    I tried to use CoolIris for my web site a few months ago but it croaked when I tried to add all 2700 different items on my site. Yes, CoolIris needs a way for authors to build a menu structure, so users can dive down a level for more detail, etc. My items are in 35 different categories so I tried making one big web page with 35 different instances of CoolIris but that didn’t work either.

    Now that there’s a new version, I’ll try it again. I think there’s an iPhone version too.