Justin.tv has made a name for itself by providing a simple platform for live streaming video online and to mobile phones. However, the company’s latest mobile application isn’t about live experiences, but about sharing on-demand video streams with friends.
Socialcam is a new app that makes it easy for users to shoot and upload videos from their iPhone, iPod touch and Android mobile devices and to share those videos with friends — who can either watch the videos on their own mobile devices, or on the dedicated Socialcam site. The app lets users import their contacts from Facebook, and they can share videos on multiple social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as the typical sharing options through email.
Socialcam is a bit of a departure from Justin.tv’s core business, which is live streaming, but Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel says it shouldn’t be seen as a “pivot.” Socialcam was developed mostly because the Justin.tv team recognized that the vast majority of viewers for videos shot on its mobile app were being viewed on-demand.
The goal of Socialcam, according to Seibel, who stopped by our offices a few weeks ago to show off the app, is to reduce the amount of friction users have with sharing videos they shoot on their mobile phones. Currently, he argues, there’s no good way to let users see those mobile videos: You can upload them from your iPhone or Android phone to YouTube, but that video sharing site is open for viewing by everyone and not ideal for videos you only want your friends to see. Or you could email videos, which is cumbersome because the recipient needs to have compatible video playback supported — not to mention a mail provider that accepts large files. Or you could MMS videos to friends, but not everyone has a smartphone that supports that feature.
That’s where Socialcam comes in. Think of it as an Instagram for video — without the old-time-y filter. Since the videos are hosted by Justin.tv, they’re available for viewing on the web anytime at Socialcam.com or through the mobile app. And Socialcam includes all the same features one would expect from a social app. Users can comment on videos, “like” videos and tag their friends in those videos as well.
The app is now available for download from the Apple App Store and the Android Market. To help promote the launch, Justin.tv is throwing a party at the Exploratorium in San Francisco this week; and the company no doubt hopes to tap into the SXSW zeitgeist by being one of the new apps to be used at the tech conference, which in the past has helped boost usage of Twitter, Foursquare and other social web and mobile applications.
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