After having a brief look at EyeSpot last week, I promised I would review it as soon as I could — so here. EyeSpot is a new startup, latest addition to the whole video thing, which let’s you (1) shoot, (2) mix, and (3) share videos (yeah I know, we’ve heard that before).
First off, before I start with anything, let me just tell you that regardless of whether EyeSpot as a product is good or not, it’s interface and layout just rocks. Whoever’s behind it has done just a fantastic job of three things: usability, design, and general layout. I’ll put it as one of my favourite Web 2.0 startup’ layouts.
Ok, now that that’s off my chest, I’ll carry on. EyeSpot is doing generally what YouTube does in many different ways, good or bad. But I think where EyeSpot takes it further is that it really takes the concept of remixing seriously, oh, and it does audio. It’s basically got all Web 2.0 things in it: sharing, tagging, grouping, blogging, and of course it’s own, mixing. I’ll go through each of these things and how EyeSpot deals with them.
EyeSpot allows, as any video app would, the sharing of videos. On every video, you have the option of telling your friends about it. Yeah, sounds very interesting. But as well as via e-mail, what EyeSpot does that is unique to itself is that you can tell someone about the video even through SMS on their cell phone if they have one based in the U.S. (almost all the major carriers are accepted) which is simply genius and well thought-of. Unfortunately since I don’t live in the U.S, I couldn’t test this feature out.
I’m guessing you know the drill about tagging, so I won’t go into it much. EyeSpot allows you to personally tag each video which is then visible in your profile. You can call it ‘on the spot categories,’ and it very much is. Like the concept of ‘tag clouds,’ say for example I tag video A “skiing” and Y “skiing,” the tag “skiing” is then in my profile and I can see which videos I’ve tagged skiing. This feature, I guess, can also be known as bookmarking.
Users have the option of creating groups or joining existing ones, which, like a typical social site, they are then a part of. For example, I joined the SXSW group which then not only made me a part of it, but allows me to post videos to it, participate in discussions, post comments, and much more. They’ve really done this quite transparently and I would guess a typical user wouldn’t have any problems with using it.
It seems this is a requirement for every Web 2.0 app these days. Each user on EyeSpot has a blog setup where they can integrate videos in EyeSpot a post about it. This isn’t I would say ‘blogging,’ but more on publicly commenting on your favorite or non-favorite videos. It allows basic HTML tags and does look quite good.
As I said above, mixing is a feature that’s unique to EyeSpot and which, using AJAX, EyeSpot does extremely well. So, here’s the deal. Each user the the option of creating a ‘mix’ or browsing through existing ones. A mix is basically a simple collection of videos, edited together using EyeSpot by a user. For example, I could find all the videos on skiing on EyeSpot and put them together using the Mix creator by dragging them to the timeline. This is much better than what I would have rather had to do manually using a video editing software, etc. which frankly no average consumer would have an idea about.
As with any product, there are some weaknesses with EyeSpot that I’ve noticed.
- It should strongly recognize the fact that I’ve logged in. For example, say I login, do things and then click on the ‘home’ button. Guess what? EyeSpot forgets that I was ever logged in and I have to login again. This might be bug in the system, but for users, they don’t want to log back in a hundred times every time they click the ‘home’ button.
- When I watch a video, I want to have an idea of how long it is. Currently, all EyeSpot has is a ‘Play’, ‘Pause’ and ‘Stop’ button. There’s no scroller or timecode, not even a simple timebar which lets you click on several parts of the video and go to it.
- Lastly, I want the URL of the page that I’m on on every page, at least the video ones. I know I can ‘share’ it, but like YouTube, if every video has its own URL, that would be great for linking to on blogs, and if they can provide the code to integrate a video to.
EyeSpot is definitely a strong product, no doubt. It’s got all the things needed for a successful Web 2.0 app, and if some of the small glitches in its system are fixed and integration and accessibility to videos is improved (like YouTube and Google Video, for example) and opened up, I think it’ll stay.