Grouper and sharing / organizing personal media

Just read Cringley’s piece about Grouper, its surprisingly thin. The purchase is about a research — Lynton made that clear in his statement – but with no brand its going to be hard to extend it beyond r&d, something Cringley seems to think is eary. Also wasnt grouper all about p2p and sharing of personal media? Thats what the client / media player is all about. The media have respun this as another video sharing site — but Felsner’s and Samuels vision started in a very different place. Will be interesting to see what Sony really bought and where they go with this. Sony really needs to drive and open up innovation on the software layer – from walkmans to phones to psp’s to connected cameras and playstations — offering users a means to share and manage personal media is a big opportunity that Sony have thus far failed to deliver on.

Why cant I tag movie clips as I film them on my camera? There should be a simple scroll wheel interface into a user defined set of keywords that I could select and tag as I capture media. The relative cost of capturing, or acquiring media continues to drop at an astounding pace — but this has shifted the cost of media from storage, processing etc. to organization and presentation.  Grouper anyone? Another example — have you tried openlcr? Openlcr is a web based interface to offer software services for cordless phones — ringtones, weather, upload contacts etc.  Its abismal — useless, and expensive to boot.   Why arent CE companies adapting to software based innovation? I think the problem is generally grounded in the history of the consumer electronics business. Most of the traditional businesses grew through innovating of specific hardware based functionality. CE devices were traditionally all about making thousands of minute pieces of hardware work in tandem. Yet CE as an industry is getting pressured from the edge by both the low cost manufacturing base, the realities of solid state and the advent of software based innovation, in essentially dumb devices.

Given that the Grouper purchase was made by Sony Pictures its likely they too bought the video sharing meme and wont capitalize on the rest of the opportunity, but there could be much more here than just another video storage / sharing site.

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