Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Power of Video

Today I'm making the jump and installing MSN toolbar. Why MSN's toolbar and not Google's? One reason, visual cue comfort. Let me explain. I spend some time bumming around Microsoft's Channel 9 checking out the videos. What is Channel 9? From their website:

"Welcome to Channel 9. We are five guys at Microsoft who want a new level of communication between Microsoft and developers. We believe that we will all benefit from a little dialogue these days. This is our first attempt to move beyond the newsgroup, the blog, and the press release to talk with each other, human to human."

Actually there's a lot of geeky cool stuff there not just for developers (check out the video on MSN Virtual Earth, awesome!). Now I've been holding off on installing a search toolbar until the initial wave wore off (read: thesis, thesis, thesis!), but I was cruising around the Channel 9 videos and found this: "Introducing MSN Toolbar Suite". Not only does seeing the actual developers all jazzed up talking about their product very inspiring, actually see them walk through a demo really helped quantify what I was getting myself into after installing the toolbar software. Seeing the demo visually helped me realize the benefits the software had for me as a user. Watching a video is also a lot easier and fun then reading through documentation or tutorials (which I would have never spent the time doing). I find the video worked even better than the valuable online walkthroughs (demonstrations) such as the one for Active Words, I'm not sure why, maybe because just like interacting with a live operator when you're on a support call is a thousand times better than scrolling through automated menu's; so too is watching an actual person go through the software is better than watching the computer do it (actually the walkthroughs are pretty valuable too, just not as dominate as the video was).

I wish Microsoft and other companies did this more often, especially for some of the harder to find things to do (like the shortcut creation he demonstrated in this video. Well done Microsoft/Channel 9!

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