Many of the new “Web 2.0 Social Networking” sites I visit fail to keep my interest beyond a few minutes – they just don’t get me involved in the site early enough – they don’t show me what I can do with the service.
This is just as true for desktop applications. Examples – both Google and Microsoft released new versions of their mapping software today (Google Earth 4 [beta, of course] and Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D [also beta].
Neither of these apps has very good bait – there is no immediate way to see “what does this application offer me?”.
If I were the program manager for Google Earth I would offer a new user the option to “Enter the names of as many as X places you have visited, lived, or are interested in”. THEN I would do the amazing Google Fly-Around’s – to places that mean something to the viewer. Bam! Bait taken, hook set. Microsoft can offer the same type of “hook them now” experience – one way is wit their “driver’s seat” view. Take me on a ride of the 10 best scenic drives in the country, or to the Seven Wonders of the World. Engage me. Early.