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!).
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.
Video: View from our balcony
This is a short view of the view from our balcony shot with my camera phone (hence the poor video quality!).
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.
I have mentioned Blip.tv previously but I didn’t mention their in-browser video recorder.
Today I decided to try it out and I have to say, apart from a few minor quibbles, I am well impressed. Especially since this function is still in Alpha.
What quibbles did I have? Well
- The counter counting off the time on-screen isn’t very accurate. On my first try, I finished after what the counter told me was 30 secs only to find that the recorded video was 99 seconds!
- There is no pause button – a pause button is very handy in any recording medium and this is no different. It needs one.
- The file sizes generated seem inordinately large (one minute 29 seconds – 324mb)
- I failed to get the video to upload to the site! I had to upload it using UpperBlip (Blip.tv’s free upload tool) and most disturbingly
- You can now see how far my hairline has receeded!
As I said, this functionality is still in alpha but it is indicative of the great spirit of innovation at Blip.tv. I recently published an interview with Mike Hudack, the CEO of Blip.tv, and you can tell from that interview that Blip.tv are going places.
[Non-disclosure] – I have absolutely no affiliation whatsoever with Blip.tv, I just happen to think they are cool!
Simon of Tuppenceworth has a great post where he reviews the terms and conditions of video sharing sites (YouTube, Blip.tv and Google Video). Simon works in McGarr Solicitors a well known law firm in dublin.
I haven’t tried Google Video yet but I have tried both Blip.tv and YouTube and I much prefer Blip.tv. Google would have to be really good to come close to Blip.tv, in terms of functionality.
However, when considering the ToS, Simon comes down in favour of Google Video – this is what he says for each of the sites:
Take your valued video off YouTube. They can do any damn thing they like with it, for money or any other reason, and you canâ€™t do a thing.
Iâ€™d be unworried were it not for two clauses. You do need to grant Blip a right to disseminate the video- otherwise how could anyone see it? But â€œeither electronically or via other mediaâ€?? What non electronic media does the blip.tv intend to use? I only want to agree to electronic dissemination. Also what is the definition of a â€œBlip.tv affiliated siteâ€?? Leaves us with questions.
and finally, Google Video
â€œnon-exclusiveâ€? is good. â€œmodifyâ€? is concerning, but could be a technical term. Letâ€™s let it slide for the moment. â€œReformatâ€? might be read as referring to a video format. Or it might be selling a DVD of Google Greatest Giggles. Otherwise Iâ€™d say that itâ€™s not so bad. Particularly read in conjunction with the later clause. Youâ€™re taking a risk, of course, but it seems to be a lesser one than in the two examples above.
I must take a look at Google Video in light of that. Thanks Simon.
[EDITED] to correct Simon’s current status