It’s good to see that the personal music channel Pandora has been chosen in Time’s new list of really, really cool websites. I happen to like the site, although I’m still having some mixed feelings. Surely, Pandora provides some fantastic functionality. Using deep data mining and adaptive filtering – and after asking for just a few favourite songs – it manages to create a personalized radio channel that only plays good music. Well, to my ears that is, which in this case according to Pandora means “electronic roots, down tempo influences, use of electronic pianos, subtle use of electric keys and trippy soundscapes”.
Makes you wonder why Apple hasn’t caught this wave yet, especially because Pandora enables you to jump directly to the iTunes store if you want to buy a song that you have just heard on the radio channel.
The thing is however, that the Pandora music player is a typical example of the use of Rich Internet Technology. I guess it’s build with Macromedia’s Flash or Flex, which makes for a compelling, highly interactive user interface. That’s the good part. The bad part is that you are forced to master yet another user interface, exploring yet another collection of creatively designed menu’s, toolbars and interaction options. In this case, it even features some infamous Mystery Meat.
Guess earlier CTO Blog criticism on ‘Too Much Interface’ is more relevant than ever. Time proudly states that “many of this year’s choices are shining examples of Web 2.0: next-generation sites offering dynamic new ways to inform and entertain”. Fine with me. But my idea of entertainment is just not that every new, cool site forces you in a time-consuming, chaotic user interface adventure. Who knows, it may just be the generation gap. Perhaps we should ask the newest, hippest search engine