Real Time Social Interaction on the Web

February 3rd, 2007 at 12:00 am
 


What if I can get to see the websites you are browsing? What if you could get a sneak preview on how you actually use your browsers? I don’t know how you would react but for sure, some people would view this as an act against their right to privacy and would not like the idea that someone is looking over his/her shoulder as he/she surfs the Web. But this is what me.dium.com actually does.

This Colorado based startup combines web surfing and chatting, allowing users to experience an extreme form of social networking. Me.dium offers social networking in real time. Me.dium works by continuously getting information about where you are on the Web and what you have been doing online so far.

A centralized server collects all these data. It then will compare and map out the other sites that it has collected from other users and determine how relevant the sites are in relation to your own usage. Basically, the intention of the site is to gather from other users a variety of recommendations based on what you are currently doing.

So, let’s say you are looking over basic photography on the Web, if other users of me.dium are also browsing about photography you will be able to see the sites that they have "recommended" displayed in your browser. Moreover, since we are talking about real time networking, users of me.dium can also directly or indirectly communication with each other via the website’s chat option.

You need to download and install me.dium first in your PC to start using it. It is a plug in for Firefox and once you begin using me.dium it will store four types of data: the chosen web-page (URL) which you decided to share, your most recently visited web-pages, friends list and any kind of personal information that you entered as public information.

It seems me.dium has no direct competitors, well at least none yet. It is possible that people in the industry are still trying to test how successful me.dium will be in the next couple of months. People shows some skepticism on the usefulness of the website. Meanwhile others see that the biggest hurdle in its success is its public acceptance. Privacy is something most people hold dear and they are usually hesitant to share personal information especially over the Web.

Regarding the privacy issue thing, I’ve read in Edward C. Baig’s article in USAToday.com that the makers of the application said that they don’t review the content of sites you visit in the first place. Also, they reiterated that you can always remain anonymous to other users. You can also choose to be visible only with friends. Moreover, if the page that you’ve visited requires a log-in and password me.dium cannot display that so you don’t have to worry about your online account numbers and such being seen by others. Whether one remains public or maintain a private profile really depends on the user.

The great thing about me.dium is that you’re no longer browsing the Web alone. You have other users that you could talk to regarding your search. You can get to see people that have similar interests and can make great friends. You can easily find great source of information or discover sites that you’ve missed. In this sense me.dium becomes a little similar to the social bookmarking site StumbleUpon which brings you to great websites recommended by members. The main difference is that me.dium is done in real time.