I actually had a similar idea a little while ago and ended up making a prototype for a Startup Weekend. I called it Chaturly (http://www.chaturly.com).
I haven't done much with it since as I found it difficult to reconcile how I would drive traffic to Chaturly without any kind of integration in the web pages being talked about and in order to get it integrated the web site owners would want control of the content, which I was fundamentally opposed to. I considered a browser extension as a possible next step but got side tracked on another project, I think that could be a better route to go down.
It's a really exciting idea, I imagined people using it to talk about web pages which had been censored by a government or organisation and it being a useful tool for freedom of speech and reducing the barriers between collaboration and conversation in general.
Good luck with X-Ray. If you want to share notes I'm @acason on Twitter.
Hey Alex, good to hear from you. Marketing will be a real challenge and will almost certainly take a while before we reach any kind of 'critical mass'. We can do a few things to 'focus' users onto certain 'hot' pages at any given time, meaning users will be more likely to see other comments on those pages. We can also incentivise through social currency techniques as well as invitation only etc. That will be interesting to try.
I wholeheartedly agree on the subject of free-speech, which was something that made me grow emotionally vested in X-Ray; giving people a platform to speak on any topic, issue, etc. was something I felt is very important.
I will definitely be in touch. Adding you on Twitter now (@PeterDJMain)
PS. Forgot to add – my friend built http://chattp.com/ You should check that out also.
It seems like someone starts this new idea every couple years. I even made the same app for a Rails Rumble competition back in 2007 (although it also included wiki type editing per URL).
I wish you luck and hope you're the one that can execute it correctly.
Thanks buddy. I have heard about a lot of the others. A lot of them seem to be horrible products though so hopefully I can at the very least make something a bit nicer to use.
I first thought you would be scraping the web and aggregating the comments/conversations. What do you think about the challenges of being an extension based product? Are there any examples of products that were purely extension based that you can learn different things from (UX/Marketing)?
I've always felt adoption for extensions gets capped off since only tech type people know how to install them, which isn't necessarily bad when getting early adoption/traction. Very cool problem space and name, look forward to hearing & reading more about it
This is exactly right. Extensions have very poor adoption, which is why nearly every extension-based product invariably fails or moves into other vehicles of delivery.
It is a valid point. Extensions have become more mainstream as of late though. Our early adopter market was going to be the reddit community, a lot of whom already use chrome and use extensions such as RES and Adblock. As far as I'm aware we can even add the extension from our own site (rather then having to go to the chrome store) which may help improve uptake. We felt strongly that x-ray should be passive, in that when you activate it it doesn't take you to http://x-ray.io/somewebsite.com but you stayed on the site itself. Other than creating a new browser there wasn't much else we could do.
On top of this I'll say that I suspect our backend will make a mobile app a lot easier to create. Investors are asking about mobile a lot now.
I've always said this will be an experiment - I hope it pays off.
Have you seen quibb? They literally hijack the article that is posted by proxying through their domain I believe. There might be some merit to that approach in the future since news is mainly link based these days (destination doesn't matter as much compared to the value of the content, travels through twitter, hn, dn, etc). For example you could have some share functionality that tweets out "Check out the great discussion going on about x" which does this link hijack pattern
A solid idea, but i'd rather not piss off publishers!
Check out http://www.getinvisiblehand.com/ who are a primarily browser based price comparison tool
There was something similar from an Italian product called Volunia. Check it out, maybe you can find some inspiration.
They have some interesting ideas there, but they seem to operate with chat rather than a discussion, like here on Designer News. Thanks for the link though!
While I like the idea, I think comments should be, in most cases, regulated by the site owner. X-Ray isn't a good idea for things like Dribbble, in my opinion.
I'd love to know your thoughts on this a bit further, if you have the time to explain? I could take your dribbble link and post it on twitter, is that any different?