October 16, 2006

Songbird Nest

I don't write often, but what's even more pathetic is that I've got drafts lying around from a year ago! I thought I'd finish up this one, since Songbird is about to hit another milestone. These guys have one of the coolest products (and one of the slowest dev cycles) I've seen crop up here in the "new bubble" in downtown SF.

To sum it up, and steal from their Web site:

Songbird is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. Like Winamp, it supports extensions and skins feathers. Like Firefox®, it is built from Mozilla®, cross-platform and open source.

It's a compelling bit of software; one part iTunes and one part Firefox. The Web site is well designed, their mascot is cute and memorable, and they seem to have a very talented (albeit rather slow) team of web heads working diligently to craft their ultimate music player. The software itself has a very clean, simple, well-designed UI, and the feature list has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a modern player (including a "Super Slim Mini-Mode" to leave in the corner of your screen).

So what makes Songbird different? It's an all-in-one package -- media search, playback, and file management -- not to mention a full-fledged browser, to boot! While browsing the web, the bottom of the application shows all playable media files linked from or contained within the page. I can click the link to play the file right in Songbird, or drag and drop it into my library. Works well for video and podcasts, too.

It's definitely beta software (not the indefinite web2.0 kind, but the real kind, complete with crashes and all), so take your chances, but have fun and explore the web through the eyes of that cute li'l bird.