Master Inventor and RSS guru Dave Winer last night released a public beta version of his newest offering called FlickrFan. Quite a few people have opined on this already, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Mathew Ingram, and Om Malik among others. After reading between the lines FlickrFan right now is nothing more than a screen saver app for the Mac with a social twist. The software lets you subscribe to Flickr images via RSS and share your images with the Flickr community. I don’t think this is a huge deal in any case I’m not trying to knock it down either because I think this is just a first pass at whatever Winer is trying to accomplish - “attempt to turn your HDTV into a platform that embraces the Internet“. Lets give him the BOD.
Apparently the reasoning behind Winer’s (Robert Scoble agrees with him as well) decision to develop this tool, utility or “Flickr sharing software” was according to Podcasting News, because of his “dissatisfaction with Apple TV and the desire to create a platform that extends the Internet to big screen TVs”. I’m not sure what Winer’s dissatisfaction with Apple TV is but Scoble thinks that FlickrFan is great because it’s a browser based app and he suggests hooking up the MacMini to your HDTV instead of Apple TV. Personally I like the MacMini idea simply because I’m a gadget freak and I love HD. I can also understand Scoble’s reasoning behind it i.e. in the future we hope that all multimedia including HD content will be consumed via the internet. Therefore it’s imperative we have some kind of processor with a browser installed hooked to our HDTV. But what’s so revolutionary about it? The fact that it has a browser is nothing much to write home about.
I still think Apple TV is still the best in terms of usability right now with its Front Row like interface, not to mention the seamless integration with iTunes. IMO Apple TV is ahead of it’s time and the problem right now is the lack of viewable content. This is of course changing with the impeding deal with News Corp’s 20th Century Fox. There is no doubt that Apple TV was a “failure” as far as the numbers are concerned. I’m certainly in favor of the UI not being tightly coupled with the source either, which is not the case right now with Apple TV and iTunes.
It’ll be interesting to see how far Dave Winer takes this. Simply sharing Flickr images via RSS is not revolutionary IMO.