“There have been a number of plays in the video space that appeal to certain audiences,” Martin said. “There are apps like Viddy and Socialcam and three or four others that are very focused on networkability.”
So how do the two co-founders hope to avoid having Threadlife, their new video app launching Wednesday, become another unsuccessful “Instagram for video”? Partly by learning the lessons from what hasn’t worked before. They don’t think users want to go to the trouble of editing long videos clips, and they plan to severely limit how much video you can upload at all: individual videos, or “threads,” can be just three seconds long.
“The issues we saw in those apps was that the fact it’s a chore,” Miller said. “They might end up with 30 seconds to 3 minutes of footage, and it becomes kind of unsharable. So we believe there’s an interesting space sitting between photos than videos, and we think it might be closer to photos than videos, with more instant gratification.”
Threadlife allows users to upload video clips that are only three seconds long, and add them to threads (similar to pinning a photo to a Pinterest board) that revolve around themes, like a new baby or someone’s birthday party. The clips then auto-play from one to another, taking viewers through several short moments aggregated within the app. So even though the clips are only three seconds, a user could put together several of them in a thread to give it a more edited feel.
“Most people don’t want to sit and watch five minutes of your kid,” Miller said. “They’re mostly just waiting for them to do something cool. They just want to see the highlight. So we thought, ‘How do we make everything instantaneous? How do we make it more like taking photos?'”
Threads can be public or private, and shared with friends through Facebook connect. While the app is just launching on iPhone at the moment, the founders say they have plans for and Android app and a desktop version eventually.