Watch The Best Video Clips And Channel Surf The Internet Television Phenomenon With StumbleVideo
Have you been trying to find some cool internet video only to waste a lot of time to find little or nothing? You are not alone.
Nonetheless the huge amount of video content now accessible online, finding the quality part of this infinite long tail of videos has become a daunting task for most anyone. Go to Google Video or YouTube and try to find five clips that you would feel proud to share with your work colleagues, teachers or professors and maybe even with some intellectual friends. I am not talking about showing them something to laugh about, or another Mentos clip. I am talking about finding video content that is unique, cool, and from which you can often learn something valuable.
Photo credit: Pedro Nogueira
To be honest, it has been very, very difficult for me as well to find quality video that matched my interests and focus. On both YouTube, Google Video as well as on many of the other new online video sharing facilities it is indeed a frustrating experience trying to find high-quality video material on just about any topic you may choose.
You may patiently dig for hours and hours but the results and satisfaction for your video hunting safari may be often quite poor.
But here is a new web video service, offering a ton of great video content and a great user-experience to all those convinced that online video is just an ocean of crap.
This is a web service, that not only gives me access to some of the very best user-generated video content I have ever seen but it makes the process of finding it as easy as a clicking on one button.
StumbleUpon is originally a social bookmarking and browsing application that via the use of a browser toolbar allows individuals to "vote" for quality web sites and online resources while recommending Web sites based on viewing patterns of others who share similar user profiles.
StumbleVideo, which officially launched last December, does the same type of recommending for video, providing the best content and simplest interface to bridge the distance between you and great, unique online video content.
How does it work?
While with the original toolbar-based StumbleUpon kept you clicking through until you saw something you like, while learning your tastes and preferences in the process, with the launch of StumbleVideo, you keep surfing through videos taken from different sites while rating the content. Over time, the website learns what kind of videos you like and shows you increasingly more of the ones that people who have voted for your same choices have also liked.
"StumbleVideo allows people to discover great videos they would likely never find using traditional keyword searches. The experience is like channel surfing through video content that is laser-targeted to your tastes."
(Source: The Mu Life)
To be honest, I am truly impressed with StumbleVideo, as it is the first Web video facility, that provided me with consistent quality content I truly liked and enjoyed.
For as much as I loved Neave.tv, which is probably the first online video site, aggregating user-generated (and not) video content that stood out from the average junk you find on most video sharing sites, StumbleVideo is a gigantic step forward, as it relies not just one one person selections, but on the wisdom of the thousands watching those clips and voting for them with their eyes and clicks.
I do not know whether StumbleVideo, gathers and selects video content to include within its channels from the natural surfing habits and votes recorded by its StumbleUpon toolbar or if it leverages also some "editors" work to fine-tune and review the video selections that end up inside the StumbleVideo video channels.
Fact is that the quality of the video selections you get access to from StumbleVideo, iare, by my own personal standards, really good.
In fact, and believe me this is a completely spontaneous observation, not only I discovered a great number of cool videos, films and clips I didn't know anything about, but I also got a great learning experience out of them.
As I enjoy more the educational, investigative, documentaristic work over the fiction and entertainment one, I was embarrassed to see how much I could truly discover and learn when offered access to true quality video content diversity that hadn't been packaged for television-generated mass consumption.
In fact, I want to stretch this even more.
By watching StumbleVideo, I felt distinctly and for the first time, that I had found something that was more powerful and "addictive" than television itself.
What I mean is this: I am not a television fan and I actively promote the trashing of television for many reasons that relate to the quality of its programming, the type of economy and companies it supports and the very limited world view and access to true information it provides to its viewers. On traditional television, I watch only a few live sports events to distract my brain. Nonetheless my declared and open resistance to the tube, I have grown up with it, have studied it in school, have worked for it for a long time and at many points in my life have dreamed or desired to produce things for it. The point of this is that, beyond rational thinking, and personal preferences, television keeps having a huge attraction and influence on the majority of people, while being there little alternative that is as compelling and rich in production and communication values to draw away traditional tv viewers from those tv tubes.
Or so I thought.
Having now experienced StumbleVideo, my hope for how many people would be eager to devote much greater time to such video content rather than watching the one world view broadcast by any of the major network channels, has grown tremendously.
StumbleVideo is the first personal online video channel that gives me immediate satisfaction, consistently and on a number of topics I am interested in.
Better than traditional television, better than cable, better than satellite, better than any YouTube or Google Video taken at their face value. StumbleVideo is a treasure trove of great video content that doesn't stop surprising me and make me click to see more.
What's the recipe of such a successful tool?
a) Pull - The user is in control - I decide what I want to see and when.
b) Great content - a good and well balanced mix of grassroots material, independent video productions and some excerpts of popular television shows make for the best blend of video content I could ever ask for.
c) Wisdom of crowds - the collective intelligence of all StumbleVideo users helps everyone else have a better experience. The videos seen and the active votes given to them by viewers influence and determine what content gets to be shown.
d) Ease of use - no menus, no commands, no required learning time. It works instantly by using a list of content channels and a button to play.
e) Accessibility - no matter what computer brand you have or operating system StumbleVideo works. It is web-based and it does not require you to install or configure any software.
For now StumbleVideo serves video content coming from the top three video sites: YouTube, Google Video, and Myspace. But in the near future you should see more video sources being used to further aggregate quality video content.
Areas for improvement:
While I truly like the StumbleVideo, I think that, like most new tools, it still has multiple areas for improvement. Here a few small suggestions:
I loved StumbleVideo content so much, I really wanted it to go on by itself. Having to click the Stumble button at the end of each clip really bothered me after a while. I want an option that says "continuos play" and which just plays video clips one after the other just as if I was clicking Stumble at the end of each.
Access to history
The video content StumbleVideo provided was so good that I started wanting to bookmark the things I really liked and I started wanting to go back and see again some of those videos. StumbleVideo provides a "thumbs up" button to vote for the clips you like, and it records the name and link for each one of those, so that it can use that info to recommend good videos to other viewers having similar tastes to yours. Not only. StumbleVideo also provides you with access to the video clips you have voted for. The problem is I can only see the last eight of the 21 I have voted for. Where are the others? The same request applies to the ability to see all videos I have viewed independently of whether I have voted for them or not. Both of these features would make StumbleVideo increase its value to me by 100%.
I would like to search for specific subject titles, tags or authors among the videos I can access via StumbleVideo both within specific channels as well as within the overall StumbleVideo "archive".
I would like an option allowing me to decide whether my StumbleVideo identity is revealed to other (even in the form of a nickname) and whether I authorize others to know what are my video preferences. While I have no problem for StumbleVideo to leverage my usage patterns to make recommendations that do not reconnect back to my identity, I think that I should also be protected
from anyone who would want to learn about my private video viewing habits.
StumbleVideo is free to use.
To learn more see also:
Dec. 13, 2006
StumbleUpon Launches Video Referral Site
Dec. 13, 2006
StumbleUpon Launches StumbleVideo
Dec. 13, 2006
StumbleVideo: A Sign of Things To Come
Dec. 14, 2006
StumbleVideo One Click Away From Shutting Down?
The Mu Life by Muhammad Saleem
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