Last November, we brought you news about Nebul.us, an intriguing start-up aimed at using infographics for social networking. And this week, they've announced their first major update since launching six months ago.
The main premise of the service is that much like StumbleUpon, you get a widget in your browser that allows you to mark articles or songs or media that you want to share with friends. The twist is that these are then loaded into a personalized infographic--allowing people in your "cloud" to easily browse what you've been burrowing into. (The width of the bands shows how long you spent, and the height shows how much affiliated content you browsed or created, via Twitter or Facebook.) Think of something like Google Buzz, made visual; the graph is basically a clever way of wading through the mountains of content out there, in an intuitive way.
The new updates leave that central offering untouched, instead, there's lots of subtle tweaks to encourage sociability in the user base: Comments are now limited to 140 characters to encourage easier reading; users can repost items to their own cloud without interrupting whatever their browsing; cloud posts can be sent automatically to Twitter and Facebook; and a new feature lets you see the first person that posted a given item.
You'll notice that all of these are cribbed from tiny features found on other social-networking sites--but it's those tiny little nuggets of social engineering that often make the difference between a service that's merely popular, or crazy viral.
Still, you wonder: We're still wrapping our heads around things like Google Buzz. Useful data visualizations are a must-have--eventually. But right now, is the idea ahead of its time?