Google Blogoscoped

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blogger Play Shows Random Current Photos

Blogger Play is the name of a new service by Google’s blogging platform. It shows random photos from recently published blog posts in the form of a slideshow. (Note the photos are not always safe for work, as they’re random. Google says they’re applying SafeSearch, but there’s still nudity sometimes.) Clicking on an individual picture takes you to the blog post in question in a new window or tab and pauses the slideshow.

I’m a fan of universal, simplistic interfaces, and Google’s speed slider to adjust the delay from picture to picture is a perfect example of this – a snail to the left, a running person to the right:

Even when you can’t find a universal self-explaining icon for your interface, you can still often find an icon that at least helps to get a short text label across visually. Sometimes, graphic icons can also impose risks as they may bring culture-specific connotations you didn’t think of. (As a hypothetical example, let’s say snails are a symbol of death in the culture of Sampleonia, and a running stickman with two speed lines always indicates an emergency exit there!) At other times an icon may be completely connotation-free which would also cause your interface to “break” (say snails aren’t known in Sampleonia). Sometimes, we also need to keep in mind that an icon becomes an idiom even though taken on its own it might carry the wrong connotation; a disk icon for saving is an example of that, because disks aren’t normally used for saving anymore... and still, the icon may be learned by many users and thus may make sense (in the case of a save icon a pen on paper icon may make more sense these days, but that was just an example).

Other than the neat interface Blogger Play is a bit of an “island” solution... I can’t find any RSS/ iGoogle gadget capabilities, and the page also doesn’t scale too well if you just embed it in a small window (and the JavaScript is obfuscated, hindering reverse-engineering of the Ajax, or whatever they use). All that’s really needed for this feature is an RSS feed with images embedded, so that it can then be plugged into other slideshow tools like Google’s own RSS-capable photo screensaver. However if you want to try build your own Blogger slideshow, you can also access the XML feed of recent Blogger changes.

Also see the Blogger Play FAQ.

[Via Googlified.]


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