Sirlaugh’s Blog

April 15, 2009

Accelerator Spotlight

Filed under: Uncategorized — sirlaugh @ 2:31 pm


One of the distinctions we made when designing the Accelerator feature was service integration versus service aggregation. Loosely speaking, one could view the feature itself as being service aggregation, since it binds a bunch of services in one place, and each individual Accelerator as service integration, since it occupies a place in that aggregation feature.

Shareaholic (add) comes closer to service aggregation in its own right than almost any other Accelerator I’ve seen. Their team has a blog post describing it, but it essentially takes the user selection, link, or document and sends it to the Shareaholic service, which interfaces in turn with roughly 30 other services of varying kinds.

Shareaholic accelerator.  The preview window shows different services which can be used to share.

There are tradeoffs to this approach, of course, but I think Shareaholic is a good example of the kinds of aggregation possibilities that are possible with Accelerators.


Entertonement (add) is a very unique Accelerator. Essentially, it takes the user selection and returns audio clips based on that selection. The real distinguishing feature, however, is what it does with the preview window:

Entertonement Accelerator.  The preview window shows

Entertonement embeds a media player in the preview window and then plays the first audio clip returned by the user’s selection.

I think this Accelerator helps illustrate a class of preview window scenarios that I don’t think have been fully explored yet—namely, embedding outside content.

I could see a number of other applications for embedding a media player in the preview window, like music or video search services, some of which already have Accelerators. Given that the preview window can run ActiveX controls, the possibilities are virtually limitless, subject to the security restrictions we have in place for such controls.

Preview and Launch URL

Preview and Launch URL (add) fills one of the most-requested needs for Accelerators. It takes a user-selected URL and launches it. This alone is very useful, but what really sets this Accelerator apart is its use of the preview window.

It uses a service called WebSnapr to generate previews of web pages, which it then returns in the preview window. The end result is that you can see a page before you navigate to it:

We had created a “Launch URL” Accelerator for internal purposes, but the use of a thumbnail generator hadn’t occurred to us. As a result, I think this particular Accelerator really stands out.


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