Beyond cool demos

Today a colleague from Microsoft was bemoaning the fact that they can’t seem to get enough press around the cool history visualization project ChronoZoom that uses their zooming technology. Apparently, when the project was demonstrated at Berkeley, one blogger’s response was “Saw a cool demo at Berkeley. Google should do something with this” (Microsoft wasn’t even mentioned).

I told my colleague that what Prezi and Google Maps both have is a compelling use: People want to give presentations and to find places in the world. Prezi and Google Maps each provide a nice way to do something people already know they want to do.

As cool as ChronoZoom is (and it is very cool), if Microsoft wants to really push its zooming technology, it will need to bundle it with at least one driving application that speaks to some capability people already know they want. Without that, the technology — as wonderful as it is — will never grow beyond the “cool demos” phase.

2 thoughts on “Beyond cool demos”

  1. ChronoZoom’s problem is it’s too sparse. The “History of Science” is…a dozen people? Fail.

    Solution: Write a script to crawl all of Wikipedia and use it to populate the zoom space. I think there are enough common conventions in their article styles to pull this off. Make it complete with links that would sort of give you a temporal-spatial hint of where you’re jumping off to.

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