Today, I heard about SlapVid. SlapVid is a demonstrator built on a p2p system built by 4 CMU graduates and supported by Y Combinator. The SlapVid flash player has similar functionality to the Vquence player in that it concatenates slices of videos from a collection. And – like we did for the Vquence alpha – SlapVid’s website presents the top videos from youtube in their demonstrator. Seems a bit of a copycat.
At the moment, you cannot generate SlapStrips yet, but they’re progressing toward it. So are we – and fast – expect to author vquences by the end of this week!
I for one welcome the arrival of our first competitor (even though SlapVid may not be called a complete competitor, because they largely rely on p2p to provide their service, while we rely on our own infrastructure mainly, which will allow much better control over the user experience). A competitor in the market place validates your ideas and business model. It makes the discussion a lot easier than if you have to explain the concept over and over again. Also, if somebody else is doing it, we’re obviously doing something right. Let’s just try and stay ahead of them.
Good news, everybody: We are repeating the successful open audio/video developer workshop in 2008 – the CFP for FOMS 2008 is now public!
FOMS (Foundations of Open Media Software) will again take place in the week ahead of LCA (Australian’s Annual Conference for Linux and Open Source Developers) – whose CFP is also out. Get started submitting abstracts because LCA’s published deadline for submissions is 20th July.
To complete the pack, LCA MultiMedia is an a/v miniconf for LCA in planning, such that LCA attendees will also have a chance to hear the latest and most exciting news from the developer bench.
FOMS 2007 was a huge success. It brought face-to-face some of the core Linux audio and video developers, which promptly started attacking some of the key obstacles for an improved audio/video experience on Linux and with open media software in general.
Jean-Marc Valin (author of speex), Lennart Poettering (author of PulseAudio) a group of programmers from Nokia and a few others started designing libsydneyaudio – a library which is deemed to solve the mess of audio on Linux in a means that is also cross-platform compatible.
Also, a community started building around liboggplay, a library designed to allow drop-in playback of Xiph.Org media in an application. libogg is currently being prepared for a submission to Mozilla to provide native Ogg (and Annodex) support inside Firefox as part of the new HTML5 <video> tag. Then, Ogg Theora, Vorbis & Speex will play out of the box on a newly installed Firefox without requiring to install any further helpers software.
These are just the highlights from FOMS 2007 – expect more exiting news from FOMS 2008!
Last night we rolled out some new code onto the Vquence site. We are now fairly happy with the process that we have put in place for creating vquences. That is, us geeks at Vquence are – so we are now allowing friends and family to help us kick it into shape in a closed beta trial. We expect the public beta is not far off now.
Last week, YouTube brought out a new flash video player. The player had thumbnails of related videos from YouTube content included directly into the embedded video as you moused over it. This provides access to other YouTube videos through any embedded video.
People who have seen what we do over at Vquence noticed the similarity in the user interfaces. They also assumed that therefore the functionality must be the same. However, quite the opposite is true.
YouTube is a video hosting site. People upload videos there to publish them and most probably to re-embed them into their own websites. When you use video hosting, you don’t want your video hosting provider to suddenly display other videos on top of the one you have embedded, since that changes the perception of the page that you have created around the video.
Indeed, YouTube had to take back the mouse-over functionality one day after they introduced it because their users gave them negative feedback.
In contrast, Vquence is a video aggregator. The Vquence video player is for “playlists” (rather: slicecasts or vquences) of videos collected from multiple hosting sites. So, when you embed the Vquence player, you expect display of and easy access to all the videos in the slicecast. It is a very different concept: the aim is not the embedding of a video, but rather the recommendation of multiple videos to your readers. Vquences enable you to share your bookmarked videos in a viewer-friendly fashion. It’s not about embedding videos in your page – it’s about providing hyperlinks to videos by using videos.
For all those open media codec lovers out there: mark 16th June in your calenders – you’ll be able to take a sneak preview at liboggplay!
liboggplay is a library that enables applications (such as Firefox) to provide native decoding of remotely hosted Ogg Theora and Annodex files.
And to celebrate the occasion – and to help everyone get started on including the functionality into their apps – there’s a celebratory codefest:
16th June, 10am, Macquarie University, Sydney
see http://trac.annodex.net/wiki/AnnodexCodeFestJun07 for details.
Last week, we put a new front page on http://www.vqslices.com/, which shows off the concept of “vquences”. A vquence is essentially a collection of video bookmarks presented as a “video mash-up” and in an embeddable “widget”. Or without bullshit: we concatenate 10sec previews of the bookmarked videos into a playlist, which is embeddable into other sites. And since it’s embeddable – here is an example vquence:
This vquence shows some snippets from Missy Higgins videos – she’s such a great singer! If you cannot see it here (due to planet sanetisation), go to http://www.vqslices.com/vq/dXelFQeQCr3kFQaby-aaea .
Vquences are a powerful concept and we’re right now working on the beta website, which will bring authoring to you out there, so you can create your own vquences. Also, we are working towards providing a REST API to register sites with Vquence, and RSS feeds, so you can always keep up to date on the latest vquences. Lot’s of other developments in the pipeline here…