Soapbox – Microsoft's YouTube killer?

Following on from YouTube’s success in garnering audience, Microsoft have rolled out their own video sharing site called Soapbox. Right now, the site is in closed beta but I applied for an account and had one on a couple of hours!

The site runs out of Flash which means it looks very well, but it can take some time to load up initially. An idea might be to have a “Loading…” image appear at this point ‘cos several times I thought there was nothing happening and I was about to click away when it opened (and I’m on a relativelymfast broadband connection!).

Soapbox

For some reason Soapbox has an upper limit of five on the number of tags you can use to tag a video. I’m not sure why this is but it seems a silly restriction. Removing this restriction would seem like an easy way to quickly improve on the service.

As a quick comparison of the services, I shot a quick video on my cameraphone and uploaded it to three video sharing services (Blip.tv, Soapbox and YouTube).

Of the three, Soapbox has the furthest to go in terms of adding Social Networking functionality.

One other issue Microsoft need to address is Licensing – on Blip.tv I can add a Creative Commons License to my videos; YouTube has a share or private option, however with Soapbox, you agree to make your videos completely open. I don’t know that I’d want that. I think the Blip.tv option is best on this score.

Soapbox:
http://soapbox.msn.com/flash/soapbox1_1.swf
Video: View from our balcony


Blip.tv

This is a short view of the view from our balcony shot with my camera phone (hence the poor video quality!).

YouTube

So overall, Soapbox is not bad for a first attempt but there’s plenty more work to do to bring it up to its competitors.

6 thoughts on “Soapbox – Microsoft's YouTube killer?”

  1. Any points for being able to work out where you live from the video? Clues… the ferry, the train, the dog barking is a german shepard!!! 😀 Seriously, nice review. I like the soapbox flash interface but doesn’t mircosoft seem to be just following the market and just playing catch up. Just like the maps… I couldn’t be ****d using their maps when google, yahoo and map24 are out there! Don’t think I’ll bother with this myself but good to know it is there. Rgds, Dave

  2. Tom

    You chose an interesting word in your headline – “killer”. This is a word that’s often used whenever Microsoft realises that they better get their skates on and try to catch up with another company who has a runaway success on their hands.

    The Xbox was supposed to be “the PlayStation killer.” When news of the Zune first came to light, some analysts suggested that Apple start preparing for the iPod’s funeral. And of course Windows Live Search was going to drive a dagger through the heart of Google.:-)

    I’d imagine that YouTube will remain in pole position for some time to come, with Soapbox and all the other similar services taking the also-ran places.

    But maybe you were being tongue-in-cheek when you wrote that headline? 😉

    The quality of the clip is pretty good though. I can almost see my in-laws’ back garden in the hills above Monkstown. 🙂

  3. The quality of the clip on youtube sucks.

    Blip and Soapbox are almost similar, however, The Embed Soapbox Player seems to be amazing with playlist, info etc.

    If it was not pure hatred for the Microsoft brand or if google had released it, I am pretty sure people would have praised Soapbox, as if it has been sent from Heaven as gift of the God.

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