Peer-to-Peer Recommendations Coming to Mobile

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by: David Jennings

Proving that convergence is rapidly becoming a fait accompli, news of personalised radio on mobiles is supplemented by peer-to-peer recommendations on mobile devices, currently in prototype development through the Push!Music project in Gothenburg.

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Imagine that you have a mobile device that can store and play back music files, for example a mobile phone with an MP3 player. As you encounter various people, the devices you are carrying connect to each other wirelessly and media agents from the other nearby devices check the status of your media collection. Based on what you have been listening to in the past and which files you already own, new music might spontaneously and autonomously 'jump' from another device to yours (and vice versa). Later, when you listen to your songs, your Push!Music player also plays some newly obtained tunes that you had not heard before.

When I bumped into Nico Macdonald at the NFT last Monday he was scanning the cinema with his bluetooth phone to see if there were any other people there whom he knew. (I don't have a bluetooth device; we met by facial recognition.) With Push!Music perhaps you could scan for anyone in the audience who had an Albert Ayler track — or conversely (and more likely) anyone who needed an Albert Ayler track.

Comments about privacy concerns and unsolicited advertising have prompted a disclaimer on the project details page emphasising the prototype stage of research and acknowledging the need to address such concerns, as well as confirming that the system will operate within Sweden's intellectual property legislation.

The woman in the photo on the project site is the wonderful Lalya Gaye — though I don't think she's one of the prime Push!Music researchers (it's not on her projects list). I met Lalya when she presented at the Cybersonica '03 Symposium on her Sonic City project. She is one of the organisers of a Mobile Music Workshop in Brighton in March.

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