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Unsticking Glue

This week I’m chatting about a web application called Glue .  I look at a good number of web applications, and some are useful.  Unfortunately, Glue is not one of those.

The premise of Glue is that it “shows you things that you’ll like based on your personal tastes, what your friends like, and what’s most popular on Glue.” In essence, it’s a browser add-on that will allow you to rate certain kinds of things online and to share those likes/dislikes with people who subscribe (same as friend/follow) you.

I started experimenting with Glue several months ago as a beta participant.   However, I soon gave up on it for a variety of reasons (which I’ll detail in a bit).  Glue was released fully this month, and I decided to give it another go.  Alas, I was disappointed–again.  Here’s why:

  • Glue is a browser add-on, which means you have to add it to every browser on every computer that you might use for surfing.
  • It does not support every site on the net that might have books, movies, electronics, etc.  I found that Glue worked fine with Amazon, but did not support Thinkgeek.  The limited number of places on the web where Glue works was a deterrent for me.
  • I wasn’t really sure what problem Glue was trying to solve.  I believe it was using the idea that referencing your friends’ tastes would be useful when picking out items, but in practice it didn’t bear out.  The issue comes down to critical mass; Glue doesn’t have it (at least, not yet).  Only 9 of my “friends” were on Glue, and none of us necessarily have compatible tastes.  The reality is that Glue, to work well, would likely need a community the size of Facebook to make it really useful.

Some of my other comments about this app:

  • You can earn virtual “stickers” by continuing to favorite items. These icons show up on your Glue profile.  However, some stickers showed up on mine with no real explanation of what they were or how I earned them.  Additionally, marking just 10 movies gave me a sticker called “Movie Buff.”  Really?
  • If you spend enough time using Glue, you can eventually become a “Guru.”  There is only one of these per category, so you will likely have to fight it out with other Glue users for the title.
  • The idea that Glue was tracking what I was looking at and publicizing it made me a tad nervous.  The app does give you the ability to manually delete items from your profile, but that assumes you’ll remember to do that.  Granted, I’m not surfing porn, but what if I wasn’t looking to advertise my Betsy-Tacy habit?

What does this mean to me, Laura?

  • Glue does not have the critical mass in users or supported sites to make this a truly useful application.  Lack of community is a real issue.
  • A library could theoretically make use of this for readers advisory services but, frankly, expecting users to have to install a browser plug-in to follow the library is unrealistic.
  • Overall, this app has a long ways to go, if it ever gets there.

There are 2 comments

  1. I tried out Glue as well and came to many of the same conclusions as you. The interface wasn’t to my liking and the limited number of sites it supported was disappointing.

  2. Hi Laura – I’m from GetGlue.com and wanted to drop a quick reply to say thanks for checking out Glue and to respond to a few of your points.

    Glue’s goal is to help you find your next favorite book, movie, album, etc.

    Despite not having a density of friends on the service you should be able to find filtered reviews from people who share your tastes as well as see recommendations based on your personal tastes.

    Glue is not active on every site, nor does it share your browsing behavior as you surf the web. There would be very few users comfortable with a tool like this. We’ve constrained Glue to only be active on a subset of popular sites about everyday things – you can see the list at http://www.getglue.com/sites. The tool uses semantics to recognize items on these pages. This constraint, and respect for privacy, is one reason why Glue is not active on every page.

    Glue is still evolving and we’re iterating on the features on a weekly basis so feedback like this is helpful as we work toward a great future together with our user community!



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