What If Joost Were a Web App?

An independent developer has built a Flash version of Joost that runs in any browser. Sure, he doesn’t have access to any of the Joost content, but what he’s built is basically a proof-of-concept using Joost graphics and improving on the UI, using publicly available video from sites like YouTube and Veoh.

screenshot92.jpegLongtime Flash developer Paul Yanez told us Friday he started playing around with building a Joost app for about a month now, but just started emailing people about it last night (click on the thumbnail at left to see a screenshot). A Joost beta tester, he was frustrated with having to download a new version of the application every time it was updated. “It seemed to me like it should have been built in Flash in the first place,” he said.

Yanez’s web app looks just like Joost — when in full-screen mode, it’s hard to tell a difference. It also includes a number of improvements: first of all, accessibility on different platforms — but also better resizing of windows, webcam chat, and right-click functionality. It lacks P2P-aided high-quality video and all the content Joost has spent months licensing.

Of course, Yanez lacks permission from Joost to use its graphics, its licensed content, or its name. But what Joost should really do is hire him to develop a web version. Yanez, an independent developer based in San Diego, says he’s just playing — next week he’ll release Wii, Apple TV, and other skins for watching web video. Joost is “making a real business; a Chime.tv [see our review from earlier this week] or what I’m doing is just utilizing web 2.0 and RSS feeds. They’re signing deals and they’re making it more like TV. Keeping a closed platform could benefit them.”

We’ve noticed a trend of outside developers filling in gaps that Joost has left in its product. For instance, New York-based programmer Hal Schechner noticed that Joost did a poor job of telling users when it added new content. So he started OnTheToob, where he publishes links and RSS feeds of fresh content, using software he wrote to routinely scour Joost. He told us earlier this week that since starting the site he’s been contacted by people at Joost, who are helping him improve what he’s doing.

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