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Archive for the ‘web2.0’ Category

Free music and more

Posted by Alexandre Rafalovitch on November 9, 2006

Amie St is a very interesting business idea with a good execution. They are music discovery and store with a twist – songs start free and the price goes up based on how popular they get. To encourage ratings and downloads, they even pay to the users who discovered good songs early and recommended them to others. And the songs never get as expensive as iTunes.

I like free music. I have enough music in the personal collection not to buy new tracks for a while (especially not from RIAA members), but I will listen to free songs to see if something really special will catch my attention.

I have tried Pandora and liked it, but obviously those songs are not for download and cannot be repeated easily (if one cares to stay legal anyway). I have tried iTunes’ free single of the week and was very disappointed.

Amie St makes it easy to discover good songs in the genres I like and will certainly keep me coming back for more.

One feature I wish they had is an ability to subscribe to a channel (artist, genre, price-range) and have it downloadable as a podcast of samples. Price range as a parameter might be useful for somebody ready to buy good songs, so they could mark them at 50-60 cents range and get a good deal, yet filtered by crowd’s rating. The delivery could be either individual 30/45 seconds files or one big file with chapter marks to skip easily and with embeded info/album art. That way I could listen to the songs on the move and buy/download them later. This obviously also increases user’s stickiness to the site, as the user interacts with the site even when not on the computer.

Or maybe they just need to open an API and somebody else will do that for them.

(Update: Another good review of the service is at:


Posted in web2.0 | 2 Comments »

FreshNotes: Web 2.0 company using computational linguistics

Posted by Alexandre Rafalovitch on July 13, 2006

FreshNotes (currently in alpha) uses basic named entity extraction and maybe information extraction to produce a website that allows to search and navigate relationships between people and/or topics. The interface, but of course it is all pre-baked at the moment.

From the CL point of view, I can see that there is very little smarts in the system yet. Only people’s full names are detected, I don’t see any implications of coreference resolution and the relationship is determined by the names proximity and possibly frequency of co-occurrence. Topics are basic search phrases. People have photographs, which are either licensed from the 3rd party (most probable option) or manually produced.

It is quite possible that even this would be sufficient to make the website interesting from users’ point of view. Or maybe, they just did not get to it yet. But the promise on the website is much grander and so far I do not see it being fulfilled with what they are showing. I think they would have trouble scaling past the many manual steps currently required to connect the knowledge.

FreshNotes presented last Tuesday at the New York Tech Meetup group, and some people have since blogged about their opinion (e.g., Mark Crofton).

Update (7th of November, 2006) – Company is now Knover and is in beta.

Posted in Computational Linguistics, web2.0 | Leave a Comment »