Klip: iPhone Video Sharing Refined to A High Art

11/11/11Follow @wroush

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variable bit rate encoding, which measures the speed of your broadband connection every four seconds and decreases or increases the resolution of the video stream to match.

When you shoot and upload a video, you can also write a caption for it, and this is where Klip is innovating on the social side—by adapting the hashtag concept first invented by Twitter users. Say I upload a clip showing my dog catching Frisbees at Golden Gate Park. I can make the words “dog,” “Frisbee,” and “Golden Gate Park” into hashtags, and when you look at the page for my video, you can choose to follow any of those hashtags on an ongoing basis, to see who else has uploaded videos relating dogs, Frisbee, or the park.

It’s a lightweight, socially driven form of content discovery—in fact, it’s the only form of search you’ll find in the app. Rossmann says he consciously left out a traditional keyword-based search interface. “People are more interested in saying what they want to follow than in looking for stuff,” he says. “When you’re watching something in real time, that’s when you declare your interests. It’s very different from the classic Google behavior”—and it helps Klip to keep the app simple, without a bunch of extra dialog screens, Rossmann says.

Klip isn’t sharing data on the number of people using the app, but it’s been among the top 25 photo and video apps in the iTunes App Store ever since its release in late September. “We are really blown away by the response,” Rossmann says. “And we are really surprised by what people are doing with it.” One large subset of users is adapting Klip as a “micro-vlogging” tool, sharing very short updates or experiences with their followers. Skateboarders and snowboarders, for example, are using it to document the trick moves they’ve mastered. “A tweet about the 360 you did doesn’t matter; even a photo of it doesn’t matter. It’s the kind of thing where only an eyewitness video moves the needle.”

Klip has raised about $2 million from the venture firm Matrix Partners, which puts it behind photo-sharing leaders like Instagram ($7.5 million) or Path ($11.2 million). But Rossmann says he isn’t worried about competition, or about the prospect these startups will muscle in on Klip’s territory by adding their own video sharing features.

“I have been asked ‘Are you the Instagram of video?’ and I really can’t answer that—they’re different worlds, like Flickr and YouTube,” he says. “People are much more engaged with video. They make a much more personal commitment. You aren’t going to see a lot of beautiful sunsets on video—it’s about self-expression and communication. What I tell the team is, if we keep driving as hard as we have been and keep listening to our users, this will be huge.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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