Qloud Makes iTunes Tagging Possible
A startup by the name of Qloud (pronounced "cloud") launched their public beta today for a people powered music search engine of sorts. Music search on Qloud can be done in three different ways - searching by music (artists/titles etc), by tags (genre and related terms) or by browsing through Qloud users.
However, even cooler is the ability for users to narrow down searches by demographic information such as gender, country and age. The search engine part of Qloud helps users discover new music, not just music they already own as Soundflavor primarily does. Find a song you like? Listen to a 30 second preview (unfortunately it uses a Real Player plugin) and if you enjoy that, Qloud can direct you to buy the song via iTunes, Amazon or AOL Music Now. They did, however, make a rookie mistake and capitalize the "i" in iTunes.
Search is powered by users with a Qloud iTunes plugin which allows them to tag songs. The plugin communicates with Qloud from time to time and improves search with the new user data and tags. Qloud in some ways can be likened to Last.fm. There is a strong social aspect behind Qloud. Every user interaction with the iTunes plugin can affect search results. Users can sort search results by most tagged items, most played items, highest rated items and the such.
At the moment, the Qloud iTunes plugin is Windows only so I haven't been able to get my hands dirty with it just yet. The Qloud concept and realization is, however, very strong. The Romania-based startup is also embracing the Songbird Media Player with Windows/Mac/Linux-compatible plugins. If you have the chance to test out the Windows iTunes plugin, let me know what you think of it. Here's a great flash tutorial for using the Qloud iTunes Windows plugin as well as a tutorial for using Qloud.