The best of the web (Part 3) - 3LiveShop, Proust, Grooveshark, OnLive, Open Yale Courses, Instapaper & 8 tracks

4/28/2012 11:55:56 AM


Phone operator 3 has mixed the high street with the convenience of online shopping. Well, in Sweden at least, where the 3LiveShop trial was carried out.

You ask a real person questions about the product you want to buy via video chat, and not only can they answer in real time, they can also add details to the chat screen such as images of the product, or details of talk plans or your online shopping basket. It’s powered by bespoke Flash multi-touch technology – you can see part of their desktop so they can drag and drop images and info onto the screen.


Proust provides you with a fun and easy way to really get to know your family and friends, with the idea that this will trigger meaningful discussions. The founders hope you’ll find the answer to ‘Describe a childhood experience that shaped your perspective’ more interesting than ‘What did you have for breakfast’.

Proust is not so much a diary of events as a way of creating an biography of those closest to you. It gets its name from the Proust Questionaire – an ice-breaking party game.


Grooveshark’s music service is web-based and easy to navigate, and you can be listening  to music you like within seconds of opening the site. You don’t even need to log in – you can just search for a song and play it. the search even autocompletes with popular artists and songs.

If you do log in, you can save playlists of other people’s songs or upload your own. You can follow other users and comment on their playlists.

There may be questions about Grooveshark

‘s legality, but it is insists it’s doing nothing wrong, and is paying artists for the use of their songs.


With OnLive, cloud gaming is a reality. The service requires no disc, hard drive space or high-end components, letting you play on devices like laptops and tablets. The grunt comes from OnLive’s servers, which it upgrades every month with the latest graphics cards and extra RAM. Basically, you play remotely via the internet. Press a button and the command is sent to the OnLive servers, which interpret the command and send pictures to your screen showing the result.

Open Yale Courses

you can now study Yale courses from the comfort of your own home. The Open Yale Courses website provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by lectures and scholars from the university.

The courses cover subjects from evolutionary biology to Spanish and Portuguese, with all the relevant materials available to anyone who wants them. The courses are available to download in video, audio, and text formats. You can even download them from iTunes.


Increasingly we find ourselves dismissing text longer than two paragraphs because it takes up too much time.  Instapaper thinks it has the answer. This service lets you save web articles with the click of a ‘read later’ button and assembles them into a newspaper-like sheet for you to read when you have time. You can also email links to it, or use it with Google Reader.

It’s rare that we get the chance to appreciate great writing, but with Instapaper’s ability to save up to 20 articles in an easy-to-navigate grid format, you can catch up on all the fantastic articles you’ve been missing out on.

8 tracks

Do you remember the days of making a mixtape (or even CD) for your friends with a special note or image in it? Well, 8tracks has taken that premise online. Positioning itself as a hand-crafted radio station, 8tracks lets you upload – or search for – the music you like to create compilations at least 30 minutes long (which to translates to about eight tracks’ worth). You can then add a description and pictures to your compilation and share it with other 8tracks users, who can rate and comment on your mix.

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