Not content with deploying their version of Apple's Genius tech support lackeys, Microsoft is now biting on the iTunes Genius song feature as well and the initial previews make it look... really awesome, actually. Wired got a sneak preview of the Zune 3.0 software, to be released on Sept. 16, and found it much more intuitive and encompassing than Apple's recommendation system.
The new feature, called MixView, puts a single album, artist or Zune user at the centre of the screen and surrounds it with related items. This allows you to start on an artist and instantly find related bands. Double-clicking to any song plays you a 30-second sample, gives you a chance to buy the track or plays the full track if you're a Zune Pass subscriber.
MixView will be free to everyone, even if you don't own a Zune or subscribe to Zune Pass. Besides pulling reccs from their internet store, it will also apply its music aggregating prowess to your existing MP3 library. It'll be interesting to see how this really stands up to Genius come next week. [Wired]