floating players subtle victory for web standards

I stopped by Songza today for the first time in a while and found that they had changed their player so that it floats over the page and is positioned down at the bottom. Check it out on this Silver Jews page. See the way it’s stuck to the same place in the window, even if you scroll down or resize the page? That started with Yahoo Media Player — there was nothing like it at the time, and it was not possible using the standard Flash-oriented paradigm for in-browser music.

Bandzoogle is doing the same, e.g. on the Madame Pamita site.

And blip.fm.

Here’s the way the Yahoo! Media Player team described that model when we debuted it a few years ago: Magical floating design never gets lost, is available when you need it, gets out of your way when you don’t need it

What all these apps which have adopted this model have in common is something that will delight people who are passionate about the use of open standards rather than proprietary tools: you can’t make a player float over the page using pure Flash, so none of these players are 100% Flash anymore. Pure-Flash in-browser playback has become a lagging edge thing.

Back when we started the project, we literally heard “why not just use Flash?” on a regular basis. It seemed silly to people to do it with ajax instead. MP3 playback and Flash were synonomous. We changed that.

But we didn’t do it by evangelization. We did it by taking advantage of open standards to make better software than you can do otherwise. Once the proprietary tool got behind on features, the open approach took off.

See also my post titled “Surveying Goose-Influenced Players.”

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