NEW YORK, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Have 10 minutes to spare? Want to spend them on something inspiring? How about something jaw-dropping? With its new Surprise Me feature, TED.com serves up TEDTalks in free custom playlists based on how much time visitors have and what they're in the mood to watch (something "funny" perhaps? Or "persuasive?") Ranging from 3 minutes to 18 minutes in length, TEDTalks share ideas from the world's most fascinating people on everything from technology and design to global issues and entertainment.
"We're always adapting to people's changing media habits, and we've noticed that TEDTalks have become 'appointment viewing' for more and more people," said TED Executive Producer of Media June Cohen. "We created Surprise Me to meet the needs of those users – people who have a set amount of free time but might not know what to watch. They just know their lunch break lasts 20 minutes, and they want to be wowed. We take it from there."
TED.com's "serendipity engine," modeled after functionality developed for TED's mobile apps, factors in talk length, user ratings and the age of each talk to create Surprise Me playlists. For instance, a visitor with time for 40 minutes of jaw-dropping talks may receive a combination of 18-, 6- and 3-minute talks recently rated "jaw-dropping." And because a talk deemed jaw-dropping three years ago could be less impressive now (compared with more evergreen labels like "inspiring") TED factors in a talk's age, too.
Once Surprise Me generates a playlist, it can be viewed in TED's new theater-style player, where the talks will run continuously for the pre-selected amount of time. The theater-style player features three viewing sizes, support for 720p high-resolution video in full-screen mode, and back-end technology that continually detects the user's bandwidth, automatically adjusting the video quality level over time to ensure smooth playback.
Added Cohen: "By asking visitors what they're in the mood for – rather than what subject they're interested in – we're free to introduce them to a wide range of topics, from biology to cartooning … all part of our mission to spark curiosity and help people discover ideas worth spreading."
The Surprise Me feature was created with support from TED partner Rolex.
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Long Beach, California, along with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs; the annual TEDGlobal conference is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.
TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide, and TEDBooks, short e-books by speakers that elaborate on a single idea originally presented on TED's stage. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. Follow TED on Twitter or on Facebook.
Contact: Margaret Sullivan, [email protected], 646-833-0205