The development shop Particle is funded by Justin Timberlake (yes, that Justin Timberlake) and their CEO Rey Flemings says that the outfit specializes in “massively small” products to provide simple, creative solutions to real problems. An interesting idea, to be sure, but no one was clear on what this would mean or if anything useful would come of it.
Now the group has released their first app, Robo.to. This is, according to Particle, expected to be the “channel surfer of the real-time web.” That’s kind of a high-brow way of explaining it. I think it’s better envisioned as YouTube with real-time updates from Web 2.0.
Basically what Robo.to does is create 4-second video clips based on status messages from various social feeds. So you can integrate your Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc. accounts into your Robo.to “image” and have those feed through. The image can be posted just about anywhere an embed is possible: on blogs, pages, even your profile.
Alternatively, you can create soundless, 4-second clips to embed on your social media as updates. Just record something with your Web cam or make a 4-second video (probably streaming text) and ad it.
Hash tags and other search terms can also be included to build searches and other content enhancements for your Robo.to. Flemings says that eventually, theme music or music streams will likely be added so users can put music to their Robo.to streamer.
Ad-on Particle apps to enhance Robo.to are currently in the works or now available such as Crusher (a party-making/planning tool), Pop (searching), and Smirk (lets a small Robo.to become your avatar).
Overall, the concept is interesting, but I have yet to find it entirely useful. It’s definitely a good time-waster, since there is a lot you can do with it, but not much that I found that was anything I’d use day-to-day.