Interesting back-channel email conversation with Phil Torrone: “i talked to hb from imdb. here’s what i told him i’d to do with an imdb api / access to some of the data…

1. Fastr-like game for movies. If you’ve ever played Fastr, you’re addicted – it pulls in Flickr photos and you guess what they were tagged with – you compete with others, and it’s way too much fun. For IMDB, I’d do the same, you get photos of actors, directors, stills from movies, etc. You can guess a variety of things, it’s timed, you can have teams, etc – you could do ads on and between rounds, a quick “buy the DVDs/etc you saw here”. This could also make a good mobile game for phones.

2. IMDB “Connect” – A Telephone patch panel-like game. On one side of the screen you’d have actors, directors, movies, towns, photos, etc, the other – the things they match to. You’d use your mouse and plug cables to and from each side, competing for speed, with other teams, etc. I’ll probably use Flash for this one. It would be a fun game for a Tablet PC.

3. Movie trivia screen saver-like application. No one likes the lame trivia slides in the movie theaters, I’d make my own version for the MS media center PC and MythTV. You’d download it and it would play on your PC / Mac connected tv, just like the movies. I’d also insert weird local slides/ads, like “jimbo’s taxidermy” for comedic effect and maybe some real as (free ad-supported version?).

4. Second Life “SceneIT” game – there is a popular (real) game called Sceneit. It’s a dvd/board game that uses movie clips, has trivia and all that. but it’s hard to get people together. second life can do everything Sceneit can do, and IMDB could sell it as an object/game in world. seen-it uses some of the IMDB data now. Second Life is a good way to do collaborative, branded, movie game with video, avatars and chat -and- charge money -and- have the people who buy it make money other than this – people play a game called captions in Second Life now, and it’s a hoot.

5. IMDBbot – just like our MAKEbot on, but i’d like to chat with a little bot and quickly get the movie or actor i usually forget, usually at a bar it seems.

so that’s what i would do, if you love your data set’em free.

HB liked a lot of these ideas, but said he needs people to implement them! (He wrote: “IMDb is hiring experienced software developers in both our Seattle and Bristol, UK locations, with a focus on Perl, AJAX/Mason/MySQL expertise. It’s a fun gig in a rich area with lots of interesting opportunities in search, discovery, tagging, social networking, gaming, AI, expert systems, blogging, and text analysis.”) But it seems to me that if Amazon would implement the IMDb API Phil is asking for, all the implementors wouldn’t have to work for Amazon! (Amazon is the owner of IMDb.) (HB — excuse me if the API is already out there.)

I have two questions for my readers:

  • What would you do with an IMDb API? (Or if you were working for HB doing cool stuff at IMDb.)
  • What other internet data sources would you liked to see opened up for mashups?
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