I’ve been toying around with an idea for some time now for a form of emotional presence. The idea being that not only can you tell somebody’s active state, but how they’re feeling. This would conceptually be integrated into instant messengers (although no protocol that I know of supports such a thing currently), and of course Galago would supply the info as well.
So say you decide you want to talk to somebody on your buddy list. Before sending him/her a message, you can check on the buddy’s emotional presence. Then you can make an estimate as to whether or not the person is in a good mood, bad mood, ready to kill someone, contemplating, horny, etc.
The best way to convey such information is by using an eye. The eye is our best way of judging a person’s response, so why not? Smilies could work, but that’s just not good enough. Now, there are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest way is to let the user just set his/her emotional state in the instant messenger like they would an away message. This, like away messages, would just come naturally to some people over time, but others wouldn’t think about it.
Another way of doing it is to have a camera and some face recognition software going that can scan the guy, take a little snapshot, and display it. This is obviously not going to work for everybody, and is a bit more work. This is all just concept stuff right now, though, so implementation is something we can put off just a bit.
I’m sure many of us know people who never use any form of smiley/emoticon during a conversation. They often seem almost machine-like, or perhaps not in a good mood, even if they’re feeling on top of the world. Emotional presence during a conversation could help to fix this. Even if the person showed no emotion in his/her text, the eyes would paint a different picture.
Of course, as someone said, not everyone would want to see a big eyeball on their desktop. Depending on the implementation, this could be changed to text, or a smiley, or hidden altogether.
Oh yeah, and DanielS just put the new Planet Freedesktop.org site up with my new layout. Woo!
Along vaguely similar lines, you might want to take a look at Glancing: http://glancing.interconnected.org/2004/02/etcon/
In the Jabber community there have been a number of protocol proposals for so-called Extended Presence, including User Moods and User Activities. I’ve been doing experiments with these protocols, and you can read about them at http://ralphm.net/blog/2003/08/01 (several entries) and http://ralphm.net/moods.
Contact me via Jabber at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more about this.
That’s funny. I was thinking a couple weeks back about how to get LiveJournal metadata into gnome-blog’s LJ support. I figured out a decent way for Current Music, but no way to do Current Mood.
Edd: I have looked at Glancing, and it’s rather interesting. It’s what gave me the idea to use eyes (not that that should be a hard concept, since that’s how we detect a person’s emotional state typically). I’m planning on doing further experimentation using a Glancing-type system along with desktop presence. I’ll probably put this in Galago svn at some point when I start working on it.
Ralph: Thanks for the URLs. I’ll look into those. It’s nice to see additional work done in this area.