iPod & Swivel search

Tivo dudeLast night, while folding laundry, I wound up watching Good Will Hunting, which TiVo had recorded for me unbidden as a TiVo Suggestion. I haven’t seen that film in years, so I enjoyed it, and at the end I was thinking about how I hadn’t seen the actress, Minnie Driver, in anything else for some time. This led me to use TiVo’s new Swivel Search feature for the first time, and it was – as advertised – pretty entertaining.

It made me think of something I have long wished for on my iPod – which would be a more contextual way of exploring the relationships among the various tracks on my iPod. The most common example is when a song plays that is a cover of a better known performer. It would be fun to hit the iPod scroll wheel, and go to a “If you like this, you’ll also like” sort of display that would show me: other versions of this song; other songs off of the album I am currently listening to; other songs recorded the same year as this one; other songs composed by the same composer; &c., &c. Essentially swivel search for the iPod.

Interestingly, when I thought about this as a blog post, I also thought I should google “iPod swivel search.” As is so often the case with good ideas, I’m not the only one who’s thought of this. Here’s an excerpt from another blog along the same lines three weeks ago:

“The swivel search style interaction would be very useful for the iPod. Songs, like TV shows, have a strong degree of interrelatedness, however the iPod interface does little to expose these relationships. For example, I have many songs and I like to play them randomly. Random play helps me rediscover songs I have not heard in a long time. Unfortunately, when I hear an old song and think of other songs from the same artist, I have to navigate out of the song list and into the artist list. This interaction is so clunky, I rarely do it. If there was a swivel search on the iPod, it would be easy to switch from a randomly played song to all of the songs by the same artist or all of the songs from the same album.”

Swivel search

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