For the first time, Flingo is making an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, and it will be showing off a little bit of technology that will let viewers share what they’re watching on social networks directly from their TVs, without ever having to pick up another device.
Flingo’s technology was originally launched as a way to send web video to users’ connected TVs, and can also be used to create immersive applications to bring streaming, web original content like Fred and The Annoying Orange to the big screen. And last summer, Flingo demonstrated for us how its code, which is embedded in more than 7 million connected TVs from manufacturers like Sanyo, Insignia, Samsung, LG and Vizio, can automatically recognize the shows that people are watching. That could enable broadcasters and advertisers to build on-screen experiences that tie into whatever’s happening on screen.
Now Flingo is introducing a new product, called SyncApps, that could be used to enable one-click sharing on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. And SyncApps can also be used to recognize content on the TV and let broadcasters deliver relevant content like tweets, polls, and quizzes directly to the screen and to second-screen companion applications. It can also be used to display relevant tweets and hashtags on the TV, without broadcasters having to add them to the original TV feed.
Flingo’s automatic content recognition (ACR) technology is significant because it does away with several hurdles that other companies are faced with when they attempt to enable social sharing. First there’s the content recognition piece, which applications like IntoNow and Shazam are trying to solve by using a TV’s audio and matching it against audio fingerprints. Others, like Miso and GetGlue, are trying to tie directly into set-top boxes from operators like DirecTV, but those efforts can be limited by how open pay TV providers are. Furthermore, those applications require users to have a mobile device handy — and to go through multiple steps to first select whatever show they’re tuned into and then send a message out to their friends and followers about how much they are enjoying it.
Of course there are downsides to the Flingo approach: For one thing, in most households multiple users watch the same TV, which could create havoc if the person watching and tweeting isn’t the person whose Twitter account is linked to the device. And in the name of simplicity, whatever messages are sent from the TV will lack commentary about what a person thinks about a certain show, since TV remotes aren’t built for inputting text.
But still, for pure simplicity’s sake, it’s got a lot of other offerings beat. And it has an open API, meaning that other applications can hook into Flingo’s content recognition technology and use it within their own apps. So even if competitors can’t beat the Flingo team and technology, they can join ’em.