We are probably all quite used to the detail that we can see on Google maps these days, particularly in the street view. But check out this interactive, high-definition photograph of Tromsø in Norway. The level of detail that it has captured is astounding!
On the zoomed-out map you cannot even see the circus tent, but zoomed in you can clearly see the elephants (and a giant, pink dancing elephant).
This is range of mountains directly across from the camera, at maximum zoom. You can clearly see detail of rocks.
Ships, houses and sunbathing
You can clearly see someone relaxing in the sun on a balcony on this side of the river.
This looks like a ski jump without the snow. It’s on the far side of the photograph, certainly too far away to see on the fully-zoomed-out photo.
Check it out!
The photo is quite amazing, capturing an ordinary day in Tromsø. I have probably spent hours over the last couple of years exploring it, looking for the extraordinary amongst the ordinary: Two folks paragliding. A helicopter. Cyclists crossing the road. Two figures in black suits walking through the cemetery. Elephants.
A few months ago I blogged about a new Google Chrome extension called Momentum that replaces the default Chrome ‘new tab’ page with a beautiful image that changes daily (they have since extended it with a premium version that imports todos from other applications such as Todoist).
Yesterday I received an email from David Gordillo from Noosfeer who have released a similar extension with the less snappy title of New Tab = A Movie to Watch + Watch List, which I shall refer to as NTAMTWWL.
In David’s words,
It is a Chrome extension that delights its users with movie pictures each time they open a New Tab. The more you interact with the extension, the more the recommendations will adapt to your taste.
You have also a Watch List, in which you can collect the movies you want to watch later.
The website, for the company behind it, Noosfeer, however, calls it “a content reader and aggregator.”
Unlike Momentum, which gives you the same image for 24 hours, in NTAMTWWL the image and movie recommendation changes every time you open a new tab: The Martian (2015), 25th hour (2002), We Are Your Friends (2015), Whiplash (2014).
While you can click on the little plus at the bottom of the new tab page to bookmark that movie, to watch the trailer later, I can imagine that you might easily forget or close a tab before you’ve saved that movie to your list. As I have done a few times since trialling the extension.
For full functionality you need to register an account with Noosfeer—the usual suspects are available including using your Google or Facebook account.
This is where it integrates with Noosfeer’s content aggregation functionality.
The extension invites you to enter topics that you are interested in, such as technology, movies, etc. Noosfeer then provides links to articles based on your topics. They claim to tailor the articles to your likes as it learns more about you.
The bookmarks link at the foot of the new tab page takes you to a list of suggested articles based on the topics you have identified, plus movies you have bookmarked, and articles that you have elected to read offline.
The extension page advises that you can synchronise with your Pocket account, but I can’t figure out how—it’s not very straight forward.
Update: It turns out that you need to sign-up for Noosfeer by logging in to your Pocket account. I was expecting that I could create an account (using Facebook) and then from within my Noosfeer account connect to my Pocket account. Simple instructions on the login page may have made this clearer.
Changes too often
My immediate response when looking at the new tab page was that it was attractive. Within just a few minutes I had already found a few films that I never knew about that look really interesting.
If you want to discover new films then this looks like a really ideal and unobtrusive way to do it.
However, even having used the extension for less than an hour I find the continuous change of image distracting. I imagine that if I continued its use it would affect my productivity: always demanding that I pay attention to this new movie to watch… or what about this one? Or this one here? That’s why I like Momentum: I have the delight of seeing a new image each day, but then it becomes part of the background of my day—it continues to inspire but it doesn’t distract.
I would be happy with a new film every hour or two, even one a day.
UPDATE: This has now been changed, so you can select to keep an image for 24 hours.
No 24 hours time format
One criticism I have: I would like to display the time in 24 hours format. While that may be possible, I couldn’t find how to change it. My Windows default is 24 hours format, so it’s not taking its lead from my system.
The settings appear minimal and whisk you off to the Noosfeer website to do nothing more than select topics.
Having used it for just an hour I have discovered a few films that I will certainly look out for. But the continuously changing background I found more distracting than endearing. I just know the way that I work best, and I need more continuity and fewer distractions, but your mileage may vary.
To be honest, personally, I can’t imagine using this extension, as I use Feedly and Pocket almost daily for following the content and blogs that I am interested in. I don’t have room for any more.
But here is perhaps the main issue for me. I expected to be reviewing a plugin that showed different movies on my new tab page, but I’ve ended up writing about a content aggregator.
Overall, I do wonder if this extension is trying to do too much. I felt like I’d installed it under a false pretence. I was surprised after installing it. I was expecting new tabs with movie recommendations. I didn’t expect a content aggregator behind it—I felt a little duped, if I’m honest.
While this isn’t the extension for me, if you are looking for a content aggregator and love your movies then definitely check it out on the Chrome web store.
I do hope they can find a better name, though. Noosfeer New Tab, perhaps.