Stream Your Life Completely with thisMoment

I tested a private beta today called thisMoment, and it was fascinating.

The service is focused on the idea of “You over Time,” with both personal and collective aspects that allow users to create a digital reflection of their lives. Through photos, video, blogging, other media and social elements, thisMoment effectively creates a user experience unlike any I know of (the closest that comes to mind is Jeremy Keith’s Adactio Elsewhere).

Imagine Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, Delicious, Facebook, MySpace and more, all packed inside a beautiful and functional box. This is a very well put together development — but given who is behind it, this is not a huge surprise.

Read on: the first 20 SitePoint readers to follow the link at the end of the post will receive an exclusive invite to try thisMoment.

My Life, The Digital Version

Everything at thisMoment revolves around three basic actions:

  • creating moments in time,
  • sharing these moments,
  • and viewing moments of your own, family members, friends or communities.

Though it doesn’t feel cluttered, the thisMoment interface effectively takes up the whole screen, so bear with me while I describe some of the elements individually.

A profile page of thisMoment -- note the timeline

A profile page of thisMoment -- note the timeline

Creating Moments in Time

As I said, thisMoment is about a user’s (or group of users’) life moments. Imagine a rich graphical and interactive timeline of media that anyone can share or view -– a footprint if you will, on the sandy digital beach. The interface is an elegant step-by-step process with seemingly limitless input and output options. Creating a life moment and sharing it can be either fast and simple or inclusive of multiple elements for a more deep presentation. Users can:

  • name and describe — clicking on the “create a moment” tab launches the “moment maker” menu. The user inputs title and description, decides on single or group event and indicating (via the cute little mascot you will notice) how this moment made the user feel.
  • add friends — people can be added to moments by clicking on their names or via a search field. If they are not within the thisMoment community, the service allows users to search their address books. Failing that, a user might simply create and account for a family member or friend with that person’s email address. (not sure I like this). Adding children and pets, obviously without email, is simply done via these account types.
  • specify when and where — This can be very specific, or not, as it suits you. These details set the life moment on the user’s timeline.
  • capture video, images, links and more — Each moment on the timeline is viewable via the “moment theater”, and can include any or all selected media. Users can either search from within the moment maker interface between a shared community index or via their various online services.

Moment creation interface 1

Moment creation interface 1

Note search for Bond and YouTube result

Note search for Bond and YouTube result

I had to crunch all of this, but note the mosaic and timeline above

I had to crunch all of this, but note the mosaic and timeline above

Once one or more of these moments are created, a user can easily share a lifestream that includes rich media and text — footprints of their past, present and even future. The result, is a sort of “Twitter ala Steven Spielberg” if you will.

Sharing Moments

Sharing moments or one’s entire time/life line is simple. When the user exits the moment maker interface, several settings allow for progressively larger groups of people to share moments. They range from personal, where only the user can see the moment, to public, where everyone including those on Facebook, Twitter and the like can view. Obviously, mailing moments, sharing via other services (via linked notification) and via subscribed friends are the default methods.

Viewing Moments

The Moment Theater is where users can view a brief description of the moment, and any photos or videos that define each moment. The users simply hit play to view moments, or alternatively, they control the playback using the next or previous arrows. By clicking on any name or image throughout the platform, users are taken to this Movie Theater. Through the different modes; different takes, seize the moment, people of the moment, and on to links and stats, viewing is designed to allow for maximum flexibility and perspective.

Half of the Moment Theater in mosaic mode

Half of the Moment Theater in mosaic mode

The Timeline and Other Elements

The timeline is the central component of the UI. It is also one of the most striking aesthetically and symbolically. It allows easy access to a user’s moments, as well as being customizable, with dynamic highlight thumbnails and other functions. The thin bars you see can be configured to represent anything from a family event to a business trip. The importance of timeline elements is designated by the height of vertical the bars, while color keying the bars allows for separating friend events from personal and etc.

A segment of the timeline -- past to present and future.

A segment of the timeline -- past to present and future.

Other elements of thisMoment mirror earlier developments in social networks in that all the functionality is there in the one place. However, thisMoment has made virtually all of the standard features we might come to expect more beautiful, useful and integrated. Though simple to use and navigate, every single component from “My Messages” to “My People” has many facets. thisMoment seems to have covered and added a twist to everything we’ve come to expect, and then “refreshed it all.”

The platform is actually too deep and feature-rich to explain completely in a single blog post. While quite complex both in its design and in the nature of content that is displayed, I actually found thisMoment to be easier to work with than Facebook and many other related services. The integration efforts are extensive too — users can pull in content from Yahoo! Mail, GMail, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket, Wikipedia, Google, Picasa and Amazon (with the last three being searchable and usable from within the moment creator interface).

About the Development

thisMoment is being developed by a handful of ex-Yahoo! employees, including Vince Broady (former Head of Games and Youth) and Scott Bedard (former Head of Product Integration). Given the experience that the team has building high quality entertainment sites for Yahoo!, and platforms for CNET like TV.com and MP3.com, it’s no surprise that thisMoment is so slick and polished — both from a technical and user experience point of view.

thisMoment uses jQuery on the front-end, a custom PHP framework as its back-end programming language, and MySQL for data storage, as well as memcached and memcachedb for caching. While currently in beta, the first 20 SitePoint readers to follow this link will be some of the first to enjoy thisMoment.

Conclusion

This new service incorporates virtually every aspect of what the social Web has coveted. From beautiful aesthetics, to deep preference customization and very rich sharing innovations, thisMoment has emulated and largely bested developments from social aggregation, bookmarking and lifestreaming. There is no doubt in my mind that this will be one of the developments to watch this year. My recent discovery of who the developers are solidifies my belief in this development — Yahoo! has always been long on designers and developers and short on managing.

No wonder this little surprise looks so good — I just wonder who is running Yahoo! these days …

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  • John

    Looks like the invites are already gone.

  • Joey Sichol

    I wish someone would come out with a WordPress Theme with most of these features, especially the clickable timeline.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi John and Joey, i am sorry these invites went so fast, I will get you guys some more if possible. Joey, from what I have seen of this development, we may not need WordPress when these guys are done. Thanks so much guys. It is cool.

      Always,
      Phil

  • http://www.garrickcheung.com GCheung55

    TV.com and MP3.com are web properties of CBS Interactive, what used to be CNET Networks.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Thanks for the catch G, I revised just a bit ago. It was a typing thing rather than conscious. Thanks again.
      Always,
      Phil

  • symAlammaDammaLink

    Pretty sure some of those doods in that company helped create MP3.com, TV.com and even GameSpot.com back in the CNET Days.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Spot on sym! I goofed on the typing. The company aspect was the last bit of info and we were in a hurry to post. My bad, you are correct.

      Always,
      Phil

  • Don

    This looks great, looking forward to getting my hands on it. Turning the lifestreaming paradigm into a real experience rather than just mashing innumerable feeds together, solid front end, nice model with the timeline. Has a bit of SocialStream in that sense, but executed far better than those CMU kids ;)

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Don, AMEN brutha! I may be wrong, but I think this is the one to do it Don.

      Always,
      Phil

  • Sonali Agrawal

    wow..this sounds amazing…looking forward to try it ASAP…

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Sonali, I hope you got in ..if not I will do my best for our readers rest assured. It is actually the best I have tested in some time.

      Always,
      Phil

  • http://www.geeee.net Geeee

    that’s looks very promising and great, it reminds me of Plurk.com timeline.

    Definitely I’d give it a try now and I wish we can see more tools like this in the future to be able to track almost everything :)

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      @ Geee and Andrew, I was very thrilled to luck upon this jewel guys. thisMoment is honestly one of the best startup betas I have tested out of about 5 or 6 hundred. I like it and I think many others will too. Streaming life any way you want to and aggregating the things one “really” cares about is what this genre should be focused on. Anything we have seen socially can effectively be done better with something like this. This is my honest opinion. Anyone who ever read my tech articles recognizes that for my philisophy of good on the Web, something like this approaches it.

      Always,
      Phil

  • Andrew

    These guys have the talent and the vision to make this huge. The features, tools and customization are amazing and the site it aesthetically beautiful. They launched this the right way, kept it in the dark and marinated it enough to make an amazing first impression. All things Cnet Entertainment excelled at. Best of luck to you!!

  • praetor

    Oh yeah, another advert posing as news. I see that the news and trends actually mean: some IT news and more adverts masking as news. Of course, for our informational needs.

    Perhaps some real news that could be useful to webdevelopers?

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi Praetor, I am sorry you feel that way, really. I tested this beta for about 8 hours and was feeling excited because I lucked upon one no one had written about. If there is new on the Tech Web my friend, you just read it I think. Not meaning to sound defensive, but if this were an advertisement of any sort, I would have been compelled to tell you about it. thisMoment was one I found out of searching for exciting new developments in the startup realm. I looked at my old faithful MOMB (museum of modern betas), and simply ran across it.

      Please do not confuser my enthusiasm or interest for any sort of hype. If this beta sucked (which it does not) you would read it here. Just so you know, I am getting emails from the bloggers in the business asking to see inside this. Everyone was surprised. So, just take this on face value if you will. A very nice surprise for early January.

      Always,
      Phil

  • http://www.kavoir.com yangyang

    Wow, seems everyone’s hurrying to get on the train.

  • http://www.e-brighthorizons.com Saboma

    Good on you, kiddo! Now that you have this to put to good use, there are no excuses for not keeping us all updated with up to the moment happenings in Germany. Once peanuts and weeds begin to sprout, they’re busy making and spreading more peanuts and weeds.

    Inquiring minds wanna know, yanno?
    ;)

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      LOL @ Saboma, I am on it gal, been busy testing these things for you guys and have not put up our own lifestream, but I will. This innovation is very cool, and fun too. The only drawback i see is that it is addicting :) All, we need is more addicting stuff huh?

      Always,
      Phil

  • http://www.e-brighthorizons.com Saboma

    Hehehe, I know you’re on it, big guy! I just thought I’d drop a strong hint.
    *hugs!*

  • roosevelt

    Ok thismoment is totally awesome :). Facebook got a big kick in its ???, period!

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Roosevelt, I am happy that you were the first brave enough to say it. Facepoop as many of us affectionately call it, did not continue to evolve and is about to be pelted. If not from thisMoment (which I think can do it) then from someone. The strenght of Facebook is in the numbers of users and its traction, that is not enough to prop it up forever in my book.

      Always,
      Phil

  • fablex

    It’s an open beta now it seems?

  • depiction

    This looks really neat; can’t wait to test it out.

  • BuzzDiggity

    There has been a lot of talk lately of an interface that aggregate our online lives in a comprehensive, yet uncluttered way. Will be interesting to see where ThisMoment is many moments down the line. Great write-up, Phil.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Thanks Buzz! Just when I was about to declare social sites unviable too.
      Depiction, I am supposed to get a few more invites, I will try.
      Fablex, if what you say is true, we may not need them. I am not aware they went public though, can you clarify?

      Thanks Always,
      Phil

  • fablex

    Well, I figured I wasnt one of the first 20 to signup and it succeeded. Also, it says public beta in the thank you message after signing up.

    But is seems you have to go through the link in your posts, since the signup link at their homepage does not work.

    (logged in now, sorry for the tripple post in your moderation queue ;)

  • http://www.evanbot.com ETbyrne

    ThisMoment is such an amazing masterpiece. An original website that I could see myself using.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      ET, these were my thoughts on walking in for the first time too. Face it, we are not talking about a life changing event, but as far as seeing and feeling how one might use the tools and what the end result will look like, it is perhaps the best so far. thanks for your comments too. Enjoy, this is cool, seeing people having fun with another startup!

      Always,
      Phil

  • Jerich

    Why Stream Your Life Completely?

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      HI Jerich! I think there is the option to also stream your life as “incompletely” as you wish as well, and in the mean time look at everyone else’s as well. Seriously, the platform is extremently rich and dynamic Jerich. You can have a time line that looks like “Twitter revealed” if you want.
      Always,
      Phil

  • jericxz

    Why Stream Your Life Completely? :)
    I think they got the concept of ‘timeline’ from NBA site.

    These days, privacy to me is very important.

    Nice site.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi Jericxz! I agree on the privacy aspect, and thisMoment allows for maximum flexibility in what people reveal and do not. I did not go too in depth on this aspect out of expediency, but sharing can be done in any number of secure or directed ways. I wil report on this later as the site develops and more news arrives. Sharing life completely can mean with more rich elements as in video and a multitude of other creations of events. So, Twitter being a textual or link oriented stream, is less complete by comparison is what I meant.

      Always,
      Phil

  • guest

    another good article again

    thanks for this

  • Sueblimely

    After spending hours today with Friend Connect I did not think I would be tempted by another networking site so soon. The enticing picture you painted of thisMoment had me immediately signing up for a beta account and planning to no longer put off scanning old photos – remember those – the sort that took a film and had to be developed rather than photoshoped?

    A fully featured program with wide appeal with the potential to consolidate or replace current social media sounds good to me. Twitter is more about moments lost in time,Facebook about hours just lost (in wading through requests).

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Sue, thanks so much for your view. You always have the most logical and appropriate ideas. I agree wholeheartedly. Facebook is popular and beyond that rather two dimendional. Like so many developments these days, they seem to just do what is necessary rather than hammer out cutting edge value for their users. Facebook, beyond all else, depends on developers to come up with their associative innovation via applications, and on marketing to add v alue by potentially monetizing the massive crowd there. It is a potential, more than anything else. Given the current complexion and feasibility of advertising, I do not really see how a good ROI is going to come out of Facebook. I may be wrogn of course.

      As for Twitter, it is what you might call a “flash in the pan” of a development, though I must admit they seem to add pertinent tools along the way. thisMoment can do much more than either of these because A – it can easily emulate anything currently valuable on the other two and B – because as an early startup they have already jumped into the next generation in as far as user value. Allowing developers to add stuff to any platform is just not that difficult these days. So, thisMoment is a higer evolution of social network minus the crowd. They are addressing this by creating something more powerful. In the end, value will win.

      As you suggest, we are all getting into a “time equity” situation. Soon, when the right development(s) come along, people will be actually forced into using what is best. Personally, I think this will be developments like the ones I am se4arching for for the readers here. The other issue, and an even more important one, is the need for a monetization model that will work. I am doing some work now on this aspect. The bottom line is; “What will make money and be viable?” It does not matter how much people like something, in the end it is about what they are willing to pay for it. Free is not real. Regardless of how one looks at it, we either pay via clicking and buying or straight out fees or contributions. There is no alternative, save a form of physics I am not aware of.

      Thanks again Sue, I know you will like thisMoment alot. the question is; “What can they put there that you might pay for?” :) Fancy spammy ads, TV infomercials? Stuff you need when and if you need it?

      Always,
      Phil

  • Anonymous

    Besides the fact I think the UI looks pretty slick and the concept (basically a blog on steroids) is interesting, I believe that a good article should be well balanced instead of extremely positive from the first ’til the last word. This makes an article smell a lot like advertising you know. I could as well have read the FAQ section on their website.

    About kicking the *** of Facebook, I wouldn’t get too excited about that. A poke, at most. All I can see happening is that Facebook will just implement some of the features of ThisMoment and, well, that would be it then.

    Nevertheless, nice to see more and more of those websites with fantastic UI’s. Although, needing the scroll horizontally on a 1440px screen…

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hello Anonymous, I hope you understand the edit of the user name. We have to keep things all sparkly here you know. I actually am glad you brought this up, as it is a valid criticism. I tend to be very positive and not overly critical where innovation of a higher order is concerned. The other end of the coin is, I have hammered some of these things into a mud hole too. As for this particular one, I wanted to convey the super possibility of this type of UI, and I expect I was a little overzealous in not being more critical. Honestly, for a startup this new and under the radar, there was not much to criticize.

      As for Facebook and the lot, and thisMoment too, there are much bigger fish to fry. I am doing some work on evaluating many of these startups and you might be interested. I hope you will give your feedback on those articles. This one was very positive. It is so, because that is my evaluation of it. There actually was another draft of this that was honest too, that only revealed a little more about my pursuit for answers about the company. Luckily for the sake of correctness, all that was settled before the “incommunicado” version was posted. How is that for transparency? The only thing bad I COULD have had to say was that I could not contact the people. :)

      Thanks man,
      Always,
      Phil

  • Buddhalab

    A better site to create and search timelines is Dipity.com

    The “This Moment” site looks eerily similar to the Dipity site which has been around longer.

    http://www.dipity.com

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi Dudd!

      Dipity is in fact a good timeline aspect, however, the time line, tho the central element of thisMoment, is just one component in a much more dynamic platform. As for “better” this is perhaps a matter of personal preference. The Dipity one can be very cluttered and confusing, while the thisMoment one remains unobtrusive and more useful. Part of my observation is personal preference, of course, but the Moment one is also designed to suit a much more powerful interface. Thanks for sharing another great timeline resource though.

      Always,
      Phil

  • Biggus Whatchamakawlitus

    Feel free to remove my username again, but may I refer to Monty Python’s pretty sparkling and classic movie “Life Of Brian” and the hilarious scene with Pontius Pilate where this name is dropped (check YouTube). I was not referring to some womanizing attribute I may or may not have.

    Anyhow, on topic again.
    I understand your enthousiasm about the UI. I experience the same when I see apps like SlideShowPro Director, WordPress 2.7 and, face it, Facebook. But besides that, like I said before, I would have liked a more critical note. Nothing’s perfect, and I prefer an article that sets you thinking or lets you evaluate something yourself instead of one that tries to convince you it’s all but negative. We have TV commercials for that. ;)

    I’m a Facebook user, obviously, but I have only two or three apps installed so I don’t consider myself a fanatic. However, I am very fascinated by seeing their growth. They’re on their way to become the Google of social networks AND, more importantly, they already possess more or less the same kind of user information ThisMoment is trying to collect (or am I missing something?). Then my question is, who’s gonna be faster: Facebook implementing features of ThisMoment, or ThisMoment gathering as much information/users as Facebook. My point is, once Facebook starts implementing such a timeline presentation (how long would that take, two months?), the future of ThisMoment will look a lot darker, despite their clever and slick UI.
    Of course, if you never try, you’ll never fail.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi Big, As I already said, there was not that much beyond the “what if” pitfalls all startups undergo to criticize. At least not at this stage. However, I applaud and respect your critique of my style and this post as reflective of true fact etc. The fact for me is obviously in the potential, and as I see it (from innumerable previous experiences), this is one of the best startups as far as development, of its type, ever. This is part opinion as I said.

      Nit picking every nook and cranny of thisMoment was not the intent of bring this to readers. I will reserve that for later. This was about the presentation of new, exciting development. This is what I like, this is what many like. The evaluation, as you say, it stil in the hands of the users. I have done nothing to eradicate that. Adding a few “cons” would have spun it a little more credibility into it too. Spot on in that regard. I am not worried about it though, as I know my evaluation will hold water in the end.

      As for Facebook! A great startup with massive potential. I do not like it that much, but that is my two cents. It was a great idea, it has massive traction, the ad people are clamoring to monetize all those unsuspecting users, and there is no denying its place in the history of startups. It is however, mediocre as an aesthetic, as a real and tangible value to users, and perhaps as a model for viable monetization in my opinion. to be blunt, like Google, Facebook went for minimalist and only adding “necessary” in my view. Making a path for 50,000 application developers to create incremental value may be brilliant, but not looking for what I might call “The pure spirit of Excellence” is damning.

      Without going into a philosophical discussion, our world on the Web and in real life has become too much about hype and mediocrity. Any third rate bozo programmer could create Facebook’s core or Twitter’s, but coding and graphically forming something beautiful and useful is where it is at for me. So, there you have it, my two cents. Everyone does not have to agree. But look at it this way, given Facebook and thisMoment are two people; one that can cook, who looks okay and has some intellect – versus – one who can cook okay, looks like and walks like Shakira, and is smart as a whip – which one do you think would be more popular? In time, I think the average user would migrate to the other end of the dance floor.

      Thanks so much for your input, and valid input I might add.
      Always,
      Phil

  • jericxz

    Sharing life completely can mean with more rich elements as in video and a multitude of other creations of events.

    This is right. Like a collection of “technology” rolled into one. :)

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi Jericxz! I agree, it is a difficult balance, too much versus too little information. The cool thing about Moment is that it is so flexible, the stream I mean. It can be bits or volumes. The problems this development faces are outweighed now by the great job they did with the initial design.

      Always,
      Phil

  • Chris O’Brien

    This new service seems rather dull in comparison, but I still am enjoying a site that acts in a similar way: http://www.storytlr.com. It lets you show all your posts and favorites from a similar list of sites, and can also gather some selected ones from the long list into a ‘story’ that sort of narrates one of your experiences. Would love to see your views on it.
    Chris O

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi Chris, I am taking you up on that of course. My initial observation is that the features being creating are very crisp, numerous and what many people will find usef, If the development stretches out. As far as comparing it to thisMoment, I would suggest simply asking me to review it. It looks like they have targeted part of what Moment is doing, but more on the Twitter end of things.

      Not saying this is bad, but the interface on Moment is a light year away from theirs. It appears like a development created by Super Coders to me The services you are employing and apparently the interaction is very nice. Streaming like this will be much more rich, but there are things the Yahoo boys have addressed that are not there from what I can tell. Again, the aesthetics tho clean look like Neo spent 70 hours locked in on it. :)

      I appreciate you letting me know about this. I like it very much. I do not agree with comparisons that have little weight in as far as overall development. For instance, scrolling down the page to view 100 YouTube additions from my account is a little tedious. LOL Get back to me, and perhaps someone can explain and show me things I did not have time to note.

      Thanks,
      Phil

  • J

    Another angle and pioneer in this area was http://moonri.se

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi J, I will check it out, Thanks! I am sure there are many under the radar, or at least my short sighted array :)

      Always,
      Phil