Umami, aside from being one of the five tastes (savory), also adds some flavor to your iPad while watching TV. The app serves as a second screen for social TV watchers. The idea is to interact with shows and friends on your tablet. That app has been around since last November, but it just had a major update that makes it very much worth checking out, especially at no cost.
Umami uses sound-matching, not unlike Soundhound does for music, to find the show you’re watching. Once identified – a fully automated process – the app serves up links to Facebook, Twitter, IMDb and Wikipedia, and provides episode and cast details. There is also the ‘Dishboard’ that serves as a social dashboard to follow all the chirpings in the Twitterverse. Individual tweets can even be shared back to Twitter or Facebook.
What really makes this app unique is the new FreezeFrame feature. You can stop a show at any point and select from a number of stills to accompany a tweet or wall post.
The app does have one serious issue holding it way back. The media partnerships they have established are insufficient. The app purports to cover all recent networks and many new and syndicated cable shows, but it couldn’t locate some pretty mainstream network prime-time TV. I’m not sure how many local cable subscribers will want to tweet about a rerun of Little House on the Prairie, but it would have been fun to gab about this week’s episode of House. I couldn’t even find it by manual search.
I have had more success with IntoNow locating both hit and obscure TV shows. The chatter level is about the same on both, but the FreezeFrame aspect does add a very cool new element to second-screen viewing. If Umami fills out the shows, they will either dominate the scene or force the competition to add pictographic – and perhaps even fair-use length video clips – into their packages.