Charts, Ranking, and Reviews, Oh My!

We are covering a lot today, but for those that just want to jump strait to the good stuff, check out our new user ranking page, our new charts page, our new reviews page, oh and our new apps page. So much new goodness!

User Ranking and Stats

So it’s about that time again, time to roll out some new features. We have a few interesting things to show you but we will start with the new User Ranking page. The idea is simple, every time you watch a show or a movie your “score” increases. At the end of the week (or at any time during) you can hop over to the user ranking page to see where you stand. These scores are tallied for the last month, the last quarter and all time. The User Ranking page has been in place a few weeks but we would still love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below!

In related new we are also rolling out your personalized Charts page. This is another feature that will delight the stats lovers out there, but we think everyone will find this interesting. To start we have a graph showing how often you or your friend have watched movies and shows over the last few months. It’s a simple graph but it is fascinating to see how viewing habits dip over the holidays or during the television “off season”. Next we have a genre graph that charts what movie genres you watch the most of over time. And finally for those that are interested in the ranking feature mentioned above, we chart your global rank over time.

We hope you find these charts interesting. If you have any ideas on other interesting ways to visualize your viewing history we would love to hear from you. Leave a reply here or jump on our IRC channel to say hi!

User Reviews

Next up is our new user reviews page. The reviews page is a centralized location where you can look at what you (or one of your friends) has rated and reviewed in the past. This is an excellent way to get familiar with the movie tastes of a friend of yours and it is also great for tweaking your own past reviews. Yes Dude Where’s My Car is epic but if you want to tweak your review the next morning, the reviews page is the place to go.

Apps

Changes and enhancements are always happening with the various programs and plugins that hook into follw.it. For example did you know that Twitter integration has be significantly expanded? You can now optionally sync reviews, ratings, watch events and more!

Finally we are rolling out our Apps page. This is your one stop location to find applications that support follw.it on various platforms. For example did you know that there is a follw.it plugin for the MediaBrowser platform? What about our Chrome plugin? Check out the entire showcase on our Apps page and check back in the future, new projects are in the works!

Follw.it Comes to Boxee

FollwBoxee ConfigExciting news! Follw.it now officially supports the Boxee platform! We know Boxee users have had a rough week so we thought now would be a good time to send a little bit of love. The new application will automatically sync shows and movies you watch on your Boxee installation to your follw.it account.

This is an early release so the new FollwBoxee application must be run on a Windows PC but it can connect to a Windows, Linux or Mac Boxee installation. As the Boxee platform matures, we would like to expand support to the Boxee Box and we are also very interested in adding support for other features such as follw.it collections. As soon as these features are possible to implement we will be on it!

So if you are a Boxee user or you know someone who is, check out the new FollwBoxee application. And please leave feedback below or on the Boxee forum, we want to know what you think! What do you like? What would you like to see done differently? And what platform would you like to see us add support for next?

Christmas Comes Early

The last few months have brought a number of updates to the follw.it platform. We made tweaks and bug fixes to the user interface of the website itself. We have added new functionality to the Chrome extension. We have updated the API and a follw.it enthusiest (just like you!) has continued to update his Windows Phone 7  follw.it app.
A lot is going on in the follw.it community and we just wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the more exciting stuff.

 

Revamped Recommendation System

The recent enhancement we are most excited about is the new recommendation system. We have added TV show support to the recommendation system and we have dramatically revamped the layout for recommended shows and movies. The new interface  emphasizes the artwork from the shows and films we are recommending but at the same time allows you to drill down to get more information about media that interests you.

 

We have also added the ability to filter recommendations by genre. While during the day we are developers, during the evening we are users and we realized that sometimes a person wants to discover something new but is in the mood for something specific. Filtering by genre allows you to narrow down recommendations to what you are in the mood for.

 

Greater Social Focus on Movie Pages

We have tweaked the layout and content of a standard movie page. The changes are fairly subtle but we have added emphasis to the comments section featuring your friends and community members that have written a proper review of the film. We have also added focus to movie trailers and external websites that you may be interested in.

If you like what you see or have some ideas for future changes, please feel free to leave feedback below! We are trying to enhance your experience on follw.it and your input is very important to us!

Chrome and Windows Phone 7 Updates

As you may be aware, we have an in house Google Chrome extension and a community created Windows Phone 7 application. In the last month bug fixes and new features have been implemented for both. The Chrome plugin now supports TV shows, both on IMDb and TVDb, and the Windows Phone 7 application will now display your stream! These are great ways to interact with follw.it in so if you have not looked into either of these plugins yet, we definitely recommend you take a peek.

 

API Enhancements and Site Tweaks

Over the last few months we have made a number of tweaks to the create a smoother and more interesting experience. We have streamlined the user interface for people that have chosen to keep their profile private. We have also implemented an opt-in feature called app flair to display where you are watching your content from.

For the developers in the audience we have added a number of new API calls. There are a handful of changes but the bulk of them focus on calendar and list functionality. We are always looking to further enhance our API so if you are a developer and don’t see something you are looking for, let us know we would be happy to accommodate you!

New API Calls:

calendar.popular calendar.follwing show.summary user.profile movie.list movie.unlist show.list show.unlist

Thanks and Happy Holidays

So that about wraps it up. We always have new stuff in the pipe line so stay tuned. In the mean time thanks for reading, thanks for being a member of the follw.it community and happy holidays!

New Windows Phone 7 App!

So big news. Thanks to Glenn Versweyveld, a member of the follw.it community, there is now a Windows Phone 7 follw.it App available for download! Currently the primary focus of the app is browsing and interacting with movie and tv show collections. This includes your own collection of movies and shows as well as the collections of your friends. If you are a Windows Phone 7 user, we highly recommend checking out this app!

Glenn Versweyveld, the developer of this app, tells us that this release contains only a subset of the functionality he wants to eventually have implemented. So stay tuned in the coming months for possible new features. You can follow Glenn on twitter @Depechie.

From the follw.it team we would really like to thank Glenn for his hard work. It is extremely exciting to see the follw.it platform expanded by the community itself and it is very rewarding for us to see people utilizing the API we have worked so hard on.

And remember, while we are always working to expand the follw.it platform in various ways ourselves, our public API is available for anyone interested in getting creative. The API is free to use and any follw.it member is welcome to sign up for an API key.

Netflix and Google Chrome Integration

This week we have rolled out the first iteration of two new features for follw.it. We now support basic synchronization with Netflix and we now have a Google Chrome extension allowing you to rate movies you are interested in from other websites like imdb.com. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to interact with your friends and family through follw.it and we hope this extends that sphere a bit beyond the HTPC.

Netflix Integration

Netflix Logo

Netflix integration can be enabled on your Account Settings page. Turning this functionality on means that after you watch a movie or TV show via Netflix, it will automatically show up in your stream a few minutes after you finish it. The movie will not be added to your “collection”, it will simply be marked as watched and your friends will see that you watched it.

Google Chrome Extension

Chrome Extension ScreenshotOur new Google Chrome extension can be installed via the Chrome Web Store. Once installed this extension will display a follw.it icon in the address bar when on a supported movie page. If clicked you can rate a movie, add it to your collection, mark it as seen, and more.

When it comes down to it we are not only developers for follw.it but we are also users. This Chrome extension really had it’s genesis in our desire to more easily rate and tweak items in our collection.

We have rolled out our Chrome extension as early as possible, so right now it only supports movies. In the future we would like to expand support to television shows as well as support for additional websites. Currently the extension works with imdb.com and themoviedb.com.

As usual, if you have any feedback on these new features or any existing functionality we would very much like to hear your feedback. Please feel free to leave comments below.

Welcome to the Blog

Welcome to the follw.it blog, the latest addition to the follw.it empire! In the future we will be posting longer form content and news right here for your viewing pleasure. If you are interested in upcoming and new features, the state of the follw.it community or the thoughts of overworked web developers, you have come to the right place. If you are interested in keeping up with the latest follw.it happenings in a more bite-sized format, we will of course continue to update our Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Today we are going to talk a little bit about the history of follw.it. Where it came from and why we are passionate about what we do.

In the Beginning

Early Moving Pictures Social Design

Before there was follw.it, there was a MediaPortal plug-in called Moving Pictures. This was a movie management plug-in very similar to Movie Browser for Windows Media Center or the movie functionality built into XBMC. There had been talk of adding an online component to this plug-in for a while, but in June of 2009, the Moving Pictures team started taking this idea seriously. This was the birth of follw.it, at the time it was called Moving Pictures Social, but in time it would grow into the site you know and love today.

We changed the name of the site to follw.it in January of 2011.  From this point on follw.it took on a life of it’s own. We were all of course still the same people; we remain movie and television lovers. We still want a site that allows us to stay up to date with what our local and global friends are watching and what they like and dislike. But we realized that a site like this dedicated to a single platform was too limited. What about the friend that uses Windows Media Center? Or XBMC? Shifting our focus to be a general purpose website allowed us to open up to the entire home theater community.

In spring of 2011 we added support for television shows which triggered a major burst in site usage. In summer we launched support for the Media Browser plug-in for Windows Media Center. We finally were starting to realize our goals. We still have a long way to go, and we always want to continue growing, but this was the first step towards multi-platform support.

Recent Developments and the API

Over the last few months we have spent a lot of our time focusing on the speed and stability of follw.it. Most of these changes are under the hood, but the result is a much faster site that is available for you more often. We will of course continue to improve things, but we are particularly proud of the recent changes we have made.

We also recently launched our public API, something we are very excited about. While we would love to hand craft an experience on every HTPC platform out there, this is unfortunately not possible. With our public API though new clients for follw.it are already in the works! An upcoming Windows Phone 7 app has us particularly excited.

Moving Forward

Moving forward we will be making regular blog posts to share with the community what we are working on and what lies ahead. We would really like to take this opportunity to thank you, the users for being a part of the follw.it community though. This website would not be possible if it were not for the community that has embraced it. Thank you.

Stay tuned and happy watching.