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I’ve been hearing a lot of positive things about Cooliris, the Kleiner Perkins-backed startup that allows users to explore media through a “fullscreen 3D” wall. Last week, the team shared some numbers that back up the positive buzz — the browser plugin currently has around 2.4 million active users per month, and it’s downloaded 30,000 to 50,000 times per day. Also, the plugin serves 8 to 9 billion pieces of content every month, and Cooliris users select (basically, “zoom in on”) about 250 million of those pieces.
That’s pretty impressive, and the Palo Alto, Calif. company is unveiling some new features that should improve the product’s visibility and usefulness. Most importantly, it’s now possible to view Cooliris content as an embeddable wall on any site. Until now, Cooliris-enabled content was only visible to people who downloaded the plugin. Now, however, sites can make Cooliris content accessible to anyone. That also makes my job easier, since anyone can see exactly what I mean when I say “fullscreen 3D” — you can see an embedded version of a Cooliris-enabled Flickr photo gallery below. Start clicking on the images below, and you’ll get the gist.
Not only does the embeddable wall bring the technology to a whole new audience, it also makes it easier for Cooliris and the sites that use it to make money. That’s because the wall can share metadata with the site that’s using it. The coolest example that the company showed me was a version of Cooliris for shopping websites like Amazon. Visitors can fly through a giant gallery of products, rather than clicking “next” again and again. Then, when you zoom in on an item that you like, the site can provide you with more details like the price and a full product description.
Cooliris is also rolling out the earliest stages of its business plans — it now serves ads through its Cooliris Discover streams of content. Chief Revenue Officer Shashi Seth (formerly YouTube’s head of monetization) previously told me Cooliris offers a unique opportunity for glossy, magazine-style ads, and the advertising that I saw last week did indeed look more impressive than your typical banner ad. Seth says that’s already paying off in unusually high selection rates of 4.5 to 7.5 percent.
Finally, it’s now possible to view Flash content (such as YouTube videos) on the Cooliris wall.
Altogether, I’m really impressed by the steps the company has taken in the last few months. Developers can find out more about the embeddable wall here.