But amidst the strippers, cosmologists, and Scandinavians there are some actual gems. Here are five (well, four good ones plus a few others who tie for fifth) video apps that actually bring some level of utility and value to a Facebook user’s experience, things severely lacking from the current haystack of Facebook apps. These apps help you record, share, and find videos across Facebook and the web.
Video, by Facebook — Kind of sounds like a Calvin Kline fragrance, no? Not surprisingly, Facebook’s in-house video app, creatively named “Video,” is by far the most popular video app available, with nearly 4.5 million users. You can upload video clips up to 300 megs or 15 minutes long (higher than YouTube standard plan) and tag your friends who appear in it.
It functions exactly how you think a video version of the site photo utility would — which makes it somewhat strange that Facebook didn’t make “Video” a full platform deployment, instead rolling it out alongside third-party apps. Why not clue in all 30 million users on this growing video web?
- Vodpod: Videos, by Vod:Pod — Now you can publish your Vod:Pod playlist on Facebook just like your blog. Show your friends the latest videos you’ve been watching. Vod:Pod’s bookmarklet identifies videos (pretty much) anywhere and this app allows you to view the most recent addition to a “Pod” as an embed in your profile. While your top five are all displayed only your top one is playable from your profile, which is annoying if you want to look at any of the other four. This app has under 4,500 users.
SplashCast, by SplashCast — Operating as a web video feed aggregator, SplashCast seems like Miro in the cloud. I can view RSS feeds and flash embeds, and what’s more, I can pull those from the player side where I can arrange and display my channel for my friends. Plus it’s got a great “view BIGGER” option where you get your vids on rBGH. But only 4,000 users so far.
- Mesmo.TV, by Mesmo.TV – CEO Davin T. Miyoshi told NewTeeVee “Our sole focus is really the social video discovery, finding video through people.” This Facebook app is far less powerful than Mesmo.TV’s bookmarklet or overall service, which is quite robust. While inside the Facebook app you clunkily browse and rate videos and shows, the app itself as it appears in your profile is pretty unremarkable and is really just a way to show your friends what you watch in pictures. Just 140 users, but it’s brand-new.
- Tied for fifth place are myTV by Invite Media Inc. (37,000 users), Magnify.net by Magnify.net (under 600 users), and Blipcast by by Sean Mac and Sylvio Drouin (under 200 users). To lesser extents than the top four apps, all of these apps allow you post embedabble videos to your profile and add different bits of value here and there, like search or “dropping” videos on friends.
Interest in these applications has varied widely in with Facebook users — even using a percentage chart from Appaholic to account for the fact that Video is heads above the rest, the growth curve is not that flattering.
While there are currently 125 listed applications in the “video” section, the vast majority are simply advertisements for your favorite mainstream media or YouTube embeds. Even with the apps we liked, in most cases they are inferior to a standalone equivalent. And having so few users really inhibits the perks of the social network’s connections. As my post-review uninstall rates reveal, there’s clearly a lot of room for improvement.