There is something about the Semantic Web that gets me all excited about the future of the Internet. Services like Glue are making sense of data all across the Web and allowing users to interact with it.
CNET News' Dan Farber has covered the basic functionality of Glue, but to recap, after installing the Glue Firefox extension, when you visit supported sites about movies, music, books, or other included categories, the Glue bar will slide down, giving you the opportunity to give your input on the product.
One of the things Glue is introducing today is the ability to interact with a piece of content and have a discussion across multiple sites. For example, if I visit the Wikipedia page on the film "Slumdog Millionaire" and write a review of it on Glue, my friends see my review when they visit the "Slumdog Millionaire" page on any of the supported sites, including Amazon.com, Fandango, IMDb, Metacritic, Netflix, and many others.
The opinions of your friends on any particular piece of content just appear as you browse. Today, Glue is releasing the latest version of its service, featuring improvements in content recommendation, Facebook Connect integration, and the improvements to conversations noted above.
In this release, Glue has included support for Facebook Connect. This is going to be a big step forward for the service. The main challenge that new users face when signing up for a new social network is finding their friends. Now Glue users can automatically grab their social graph from Facebook and interact with their friends in Glue.
The "connected conversations" feature that I talked about briefly a couple of paragraphs above is probably the most impressive aspect of this release. Having all of your friends' opinions on a particular product, combined so that you can view them, regardless of what site you choose to browse for the content on, is very powerful.
Glue almost completely eliminates the friction involved with getting your friends' opinions on whether you should buy, rent, or watch that movie you've been eying. The Glue bar slides down at just the right moment when you are wondering what your friends think about the movie and happily reports their feedback.
Glue has also added some nice recommendation features. Glue now breaks down what content is popular in the various categories within your circle of friends and in the entire Glue population. This should help with some additional content discovery and prove to be interesting in trend monitoring. Maybe the "worldwide top lists" can fill the void left by Facebook Pulse in keeping track of what's hot.
This release of Glue is definitely a solid offering, and I think that the additions of Facebook Connect and connected conversations make it a really killer product. The best part of the product is that it doesn't bug you on a constant basis, but it provides useful information on your friends' opinions when you are looking for it.
Being a fairly painless Firefox Extension install, Glue is worthy of at least a test run. Load up your Facebook friends, browse around, and let us know what you think of Glue.