Discovering Pickle – Updated


 


With a name like Pickle, the options for joke-making can be overwhelming.  🙂  That aside, this is a very interesting service for sharing photos and videos.  I'm embedding a pickle player below that shows a couple pics -- one for each of my kids -- that were taken in August 2006.


<Note: There seems to be an issue with the embed code (html) that the Pickle player generated.  If I can fix it, I will. As a sad and hopefully temporary subsitute, I'm pasting in a pic of what the Player is supposed to looked like (immediately below).>



<Note: Well, making progress on the technical issues with adding a Pickle Player to this page.  The nice people at Pickle noticed my post, checked into the problem, and let me know that the html to embed the player appeared to have been altered, and gave me html that should work.  So that's progress.  I pasted the new embed code in, and deleted the old code, and voila!  No change.  Darn.  For some reason, community server is altering the html between when I paste it into the html form and when it gets published (or even previewed).  Funny thing is, the html embed code that i orginally grabbed from the player, as well as the html sent directly from Pickle, actually works in Windows Live Writer.  But once it's sent to Community Server it seems to be getting altered. Authoring in a web form vs. in Windows Live Writer makes no difference -- the html gets altered either way.  Grrr.  Wonder if Telligent can help...?  Strangest thing of all - the player will paste in the far right column just fine -- just not into the body of the post.>






 


I'm sure it's obvious, but I'll point out these could also be videos.   One interesting feature is the "add your photos and videos" button.  By clicking this button, viewers can add their own stuff to the "album" showing in this specific player. 


Pickle calls this content collection a "channel", as in a TV channel.  Allowing others to add content to the channel is something that the Channel Owner can turn on and off -- so it can be just a static set of pics and videos you choose, if that's what you want.  As a channel owner, you can also turn the feature on, but require your approval before someone else can add content. 


Pics and videos can be added via email or via an upload screen, so you can publish from events in "real time" using your camera phone.  Not a big deal (anymore) -- at least not by itself.  But when combined with the notion of a shared channel that everyone at, say, a party could contribute to... then you can do some neat things. 


For example, you could project pics and videos from a party that people add to during the night, making a running documentary of the action.   Once the party's over, there's a great collection of content in the channel from multiple folks that makes it easy to share what happened with those who couldn't make it.  Think about weddings -- easier and cheaper than than buying/distributing/collecting disposable cameras at the reception, and the way digital technology is giong, soon the pics will be better, too. 


By allowing those who embed a Pickle channel in their sites to easily expose the embed code to their own visitors (using the "Get Code" button), there's a nice viral  dimension to Pickle.  This gives you a little part of what you get with Popfly's ability to mashout (that is, share mashups), although it lacks Popfly's abilities for one-click publishing to Windows Live Spaces and 2-click publishing to Facebook.  It's probably not fair to compare Pickle - a social media site with Popfly - a social mashup site....   However, in the cases when a mashup is a collection of media objects, there are a lot of similarities.   (BTW, I've written more about the viral dimensions of Popfly here and here.  And you can see a list of all my Popfly posts here.)


While I like the direction Pickle is going, I do think there's room for some improvements, as well.  For example: The site felt pretty slow.  Also, the pics get down-converted to a lower quality (I know, a lot of sites do this, but it's still not ideal).  I'm not sure yet about video, but wonder if it gets down-converted, too?  I would guess so, as the player is Flash -- which means they would have problems with HD video (I'm told Adobe has recently added HD capabilities to Flash, but the inefficient codec they use means it takes huge bandwidth to stream it).  This would be an awesome site with Silverlight and Silverlight streaming. 


It would also be nice if Pickle had a Windows Live Writer plugin that would make it easier to insert pickle channels/player into blogs.  They do have some blog "management" stuff online at Pickle.com, but it doesn't work with all blog services (and none of the ones I use).  Moreover, it requires that I go to Pickle.com, which is sort of a pain as I write blogs in Windows Live Writer


<Micro Rant> 


Windows Live Writer, as well as most other pieces of recently created software, is network-connected.  I'm not sure why I should have to stop what I'm doing in Windows Live Writer, open a browser, and navigate to Pickle to see my "channels" before I can add one to a post.  Why not just let me browse and navigate to my channels from where I'm already working in Windows Live Writer?  (see my post here for more generalized comments on the wisdom of empowering consumers). 


</Micro Rant>


I haven't explored all that Pickle has to offer yet, but will be spending some more time with the site over the coming weeks and will post an update if I come across anything noteworthy. 


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