Facebook just announced a major upgrade to its year-and-a-half-old video application. The site will now play videos of quality up to 720p, though it has a file size limit of 1 GB and time limit of 20 minutes. Videos will be embeddable (but not in HD) on blogs and other websites.
Embedded above: A video of my puppy from earlier this year. Definitely not in HD but it’s what I have at the moment, since it doesn’t look like you can embed other people’s videos, only your own.
This is no tiny (or cheap) little operation. The site sees 100,000 videos uploads per day and hosts 45 million total videos, according to Facebook engineer Chris Putnam, who announced the feature in a blog post.
Videos are not as tightly integrated into the Facebook platform as photos. Facebook Video was launched as a test application on Facebook’s platform after being built by employees at a hackathon. As far as I know, users must still elect to install the application — though it looks like all but two of my Facebook friends have it installed. Photos, on the other hand, appear by default on every profile.
Facebook has strictly maintained that its video service is for personal sharing, and previously videos were only viewable within the site itself. In that vein, Facebook privacy features will travel with the newly embeddable videos. If users doesn’t make their videos public, they can limit viewing to a certain group of friends who must be currently logged into their Facebook accounts to watch the video. And there’s not even a search function within Facebook Video.
Coincidentally, YouTube also went HD today for videos that are high enough quality.
See below an interview with Putnam by Robert Scoble.