New Zemanta Release

This must seem like Zemanta week here at AVC.

I spent the weekend visiting the company in Slovenia and blogged about it. Then yesterday, I blogged about my thinking on making the web smarter and focused a bit on Zemanta in that post.

And now today, Zemanta announced that they have pushed out a new release. This an important release because it introduced s bunch of "reader side" features. The most noticeable of these new reader side features are "balloons" which provide the reader the opportunity to launch a "balloon" instead of clicking thru to the linked web page.

If you are using Zemanta on your blog, you can turn on balloons by selecting Preferences in your Zemanta widget and check the box that says "More Info".

I've turned on balloons for this blog and used Zemanta to insert the the link to Slovenia above. That should offer a balloon to all of you. Please let me know what you think of this feature.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. centernetworks

    Fred – i think you have an issue with y our css – the link in the balloon isn’t visible in ie7 – looks like it’s yellow on yellow – when you mouse over it, the text becomes red and visible – probably should fix this.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the tip. i’ll check it out.

  2. David Semeria

    I’m hovering over the links, but there is a distinct lack of balloons. (Chrome/XP64)

    1. Jeff DiStanlo

      i have same configuration and i can see the balloons. try clicking on the little black and white circle next to the link. that worked for me.

      1. David Semeria

        I’m a bit confused. There have been hover patches next to inline links on this blog for a while (they’re usually blue and after the link itself). I do now see black and white balls before a few links. But I assumed Zemanta was just managing the blog links at the bottom, and hovering over those has no effect.

        1. Mark Essel

          Maybe it’s only some of the links. I now have hover installed on all my links with I’m weighing the neat preview option they provide versus the annoyance of them activating when you don’t want them to.

          1. David Semeria

            I don’t get this link preview stuff at all, but that’s probably just me.

          2. fredwilson

            I find snap and apture annoying. I like the lighter touch that zemanta and adaptive blue have taken

          3. Mark Essel

            I’m experimenting a little. I do like the preview option but maybe thats because when I read web pages I follow all the links and consume all the info I have time for. Most folks probably just skip the links.

        2. fredwilson

          We’ve got both adaptive blue’s smart links and zemanta’s balloons nowThat’s causing the confusionMaybe they need to work with each other to develop one standard icon to identify a smart link

  3. Jason

    pop up for the map looks good, though i’m seeing the same css where you have to hover the link to see “(show map here)” in red. firefox3.5

  4. krdennis

    Fred,I have the same problem as centernetworks, only in FF 3.0 – the “show map here” text is white on yellow and very difficult to read.Keith

    1. fredwilson


  5. kidmercury

    works fine for me. vista, FF 3.0.12.i’m generally not a fan of these things because i think it’s bad usability, or at least not the kind of usability i like. it’s a no win situation in my opinion, requiring a click sucks because it’s too much work yet hovering sucks too because it causes accidents to happen (and all the widget makers are trying to find subtle ways of getting their widget more attention, which isn’t helping). i find the adaptive blue thing to be the most tolerable out of all the in page widget things i’ve seen.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree about glue. They have a nice light touch with popups

  6. ShanaC

    Working slowly for me. This is friefox 3.0 I think…

  7. Aaron Klein

    I normally hate balloons like this — almost didn’t click through from my RSS reader to see it — but as of right now, these ones are loading very quickly and closing as soon as the mouse moves off the link, so it’s actually not annoying.I hate that to be my take on a new feature — “not annoying” — but that’s the best I can do for balloons. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      I’m with you completelyThis blog is among things a test bed for our portfolio company’s technology

    2. fredwilson

      I’m with you completelyThis blog is among things a test bed for our portfolio company’s technology

  8. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    I like it, that’s a nice feature. I saw it on VentureBeat before hee, spun as Zemanta taking on “link-preview” startups. I hope these die a quick, painful death. These link-preview balloons are a cancer on the internet. They’re useless (no, looking at a tiny snapshot of a webpage won’t give you any information that simply looking at the URL at the bottom of your browser won’t), and they slow webpages and the computers of those who view them.Few things are more infuriating than hovering by acident over a link and having your entire computer grind to a half — even if for a half second — to display some ugly “SNAP” preview.Sorry about this rant Fred. I just had to get it off my chest and since you’re an influential man I hoped you’d agree with me. Anyway I like this new feature, overlaying web pages inside one for quicker access to info is good, and I really, really hope it kills link-previews.

    1. fredwilson

      I share your views

    2. ranjitp

      Painful death! Cancer! Infuriating! Ugly! KILL!!Got opinion?Link previews are at the low end of the totem pole in terms of utility, and as the tech advances I’m sure we’ll see these get smarter about distilling the target page and showing better info. I like the Apture vector here.Page enrichment is a good goal, though the UI for page overlays and widgets is indeed a tricky thing. There are sliding panels and sidebars (Glue, Juice), static widgets that use up real-estate (Zemanta, Sphere), in-flow icons (Apture, Snap), and to shake things up, synthetic links from upstarts like MashLogic (at this point the author pauses to disclose his affiliation to said upstart).The preference for clicks or hovers or mouse-outs tends to be situational and based on habit and bias. At MashLogic we use “delayed hovers”. The winners will be those who deliver useful results AND give control to the users AND adapt to their behavior.Let the games begin.

  9. Jan Schultink

    Slow-loading Snap previews have somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for balloons. I will give Zemanta a try.What I would consider useful balloons are ones that DESCRIBE the link, rather than give a preview of the actual content. It should be very fast to load, and help me decide to click it (or not):”Page with Fred Wilson’s full bio””Map of Lubliana the capital of Slovenia””Buy this product on Amazon””A related post I wrote 6 months ago””A ranking of all the big pharmaceutical companies in Sweden”

    1. David Semeria

      Good idea, useful metadata too.

    2. fredwilson

      Great feedback

  10. Laurent Boncenne

    Balloons working great for me, I do however dislike the click count from MyBlogLog.Another thing that I find pretty amazing though is the “ReBlog” feature enabled here. I find it even better than the balloon feature !I always read your posts from your site rather than netvibes but never noticed it before. Is it part of the new features from Zemanta ? You sure did invest on some great company there !

  11. Jure Cuhalev

    Balloons currently don’t provide overlays for all the links, just the ones that we can further enhance with additional information like a excerpt from Wikipedia, Google Maps map etc.Jure Cuhalev, Zemanta

  12. fredwilson

    Not all links. Just those where than can give you a smart summary

  13. Mark Essel

    Thanks Jure

  14. Mark Essel

    Got it Fred, Jure covered it.