Introducing Fizz

The response to our website and company launch on Monday has been great. We’re already hearing from people who are as excited about our vision for data expression as we are and we’re getting great feedback on our initial offerings, Fizz and Cartagram.

We’re also sensing a blend of curiosity and hope, especially from our friends at blogs like Infosthetics, Flowing Data and Datavisualization.ch. We’re working hard to fulfill that hope!

Our long-term plan is to build a product that offers many different visualizations that can be applied to a wide variety of data sources. We’re building the product one piece at a time, starting with Fizz.

Fizz shows recent updates from your network on Facebook or Twitter. Large circles are people, small circles are their updates. Typing in the search box highlights matching terms:

Fizz can connect to data from two places right now: Twitter and Facebook. Both of these are personalized to present recent updates from your own network of connections. We plan to add more data sources soon.

Designing Personal Data Visualizations

The personal nature of the data immediately presents an interesting design problem. How do we show you what Fizz is and does without knowing who you are and what data is relevant to you? We’ve introduced a wireframe mode to the visualization as one possible answer to this question.

Fizz is the first of many visualizations we’re building. It’s adaptated from a fairly common chart, the bubble chart (well implemented by our friends at Many Eyes and offered in open source libraries like Protovis) but we’ve adapted it to be more dynamic and playful. It’s a different way to look at textual information, like tweets, and as we develop it we’ll add extra layers of relationships and connections onto the foundation it provides. It’s also a nice stress test of the new features in browsers like Safari, Chrome and Firefox, and we’re using the Processing JS library to handle the drawing and animation.

As we add new data sources to Fizz we don’t want to be tied to a lowest common denominator treatment of that data. For example, if we add LinkedIn as a data source it might be easy to limit Fizz to showing people and status updates as it does for Facebook and Twitter but we might also want to represent people and companies instead. Ultimately, the Bloom platform will allow these choices to be made by anyone but for now we’re exploring them one by one. That’s why we began simply with Fizz for now, and it will gain in flexibility and expressiveness as we develop our tools.

If you have thoughts on features or inputs we should add to Fizz next then please let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or fill out or feedback form on Google Docs.


In Bloom

Welcome to Bloom!  Our mission to bring you a new type of visual discovery experience is already underway. We’re building a series of bite-sized applications that bring the richness of game interactions and the design values of motion graphics to the depth and breadth of social network activity, locative tools, and streaming media services.  These new ‘visual instruments’ will help you explore your digital life more fluidly and see patterns and rhythms in the online services you care about. And they’re coming to a tablet, media console, or modern web browser near you!

Fizz on bloom.io

We’re excited to invite you in to our newly redesigned site at bloom.io, where we’ll be showcasing the first instances of the experiences we’re designing, starting with Fizz and Cartagram.  What is important to realize about these, as with all of our coming applications, is that they are the foundations of a constant flow of ongoing iterative development, much like video game franchises.  As a participant in the Bloom Network, you’ll be presented with an ever-changing, ever-increasing variety of views onto the world’s most popular web services like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, youTube, Netflix, Dropbox, Instagram, and so forth.  Some of these instruments will be lyrical, some playful, some analytic, many of them combinations of all three, but all will provide compelling and engaging handles on the information that matters to you most, each one evolving and improving over time, building on your understanding of its performance. Starting later this year, you’ll find these instruments on iOS and Android devices, like tablets, phones, and media consoles in the home.

In order to make these experiences possible, many of which will use the latest in 3D graphics, simulation, and data modeling frameworks, we’ve brought together quite a team.  I’m particularly excited to announce that we’ve most recently been joined by our new Creative Director, Robert Hodgin.  For those not familiar with his work, please take a moment to browse his portfolio at roberthodgin.com or his blog at flight404.com, and you’ll quickly see why we’re so enthused to welcome him to the team.

still from Solar Rework by Robert Hodgin

His dynamic visuals have backed musicians performing on tour like Peter Gabriel and Aphex Twin, and he designed the popular Magnetosphere music visualizer in Apple’s iTunes.  He is the foremost implementer of Cinder, a C++ graphics framework that underlies much of our work, and is engaged in constant investigations of emergent complexity in generative design, much like the rest of us here at Bloom.

We’re very excited about what lies ahead in the coming years.  The ways in which people interact with computation are changing swiftly as we move into more casual relationships with our digital services on tablets, big screens, and across social networks.  We believe we have some compelling answers about how digital experiences will evolve into these new contexts.  Please, follow along with us and explore these playful, dynamic instruments of discovery together.


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