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The Filter- latest/greatest way to hook up with music?

Eh, not quite... I just got the e-mail saying that I have the privilege to test out the beta version of the Filter. After a few serious browser crashes on Firefox and Safari that made me shut down my computer, I finally got to run it. And I'll give them this- it's not too mediocre.

I spent a while rating some of my favorite movies and music and it was able to give me back some modestly interesting recommendations but nothing that I hadn't thought of before- I already told them I liked Sonic Youth and Earth, Wind and Fire so why just point me to more of their albums instead of other bands? There was a function to carry over my picks from (which has a much better, interesting, eye-opening recommendation service) and that did help a little but again, nothing startling that made me want to plow through the Filter service much more. Also, they only let you play 30 second clips (like iTunes) instead of the full songs, which you can do again on or Napster.

For movies, it wasn't much better. You can go ahead and rate a bunch of movies in different genres and they can come back with you with similar picks but again, it's nothing that you couldn't have figured out for yourself. Even worse, when they did come up with a recommendation for the Polish film A Short Film About Love and offered to show you a trailer, you instead got a YouTube clip of the upcoming comedy The Love Guru, which you've probably already seen enough commercials for. I didn't have the stomach to sit through the clip to see if the original movie I wanted was going to come up.

As for the TV component, it's not there yet. I guess they just want to tease us since the other two parts work so well.

If you want to improve your recommendations even more, they also offer a download of their own software which hooks up to iTunes, sees what you've downloaded and listened to there and then... probably doesn't do much better for you. I'm sorry but after such lack-luster results before, I can't waste any more download time and space on my hard drive for more of their lame recommendations. If it is that great, let me know I'm wrong but otherwise, I'd say that you're better off sticking with, even if Warner Bros did yank their catalog from them recently.

Normally, I'd leave it at that but the person behind this service is Peter Gabriel, a musician who seems to get the potential of the Net and what can be done there. I honestly hope that they do improve the service but until then, I can't say that it's worth your time.

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