ShowYou—The iPad Social Video Browser That’s Taking On TV

4/13/11Follow @wroush

If you have an iPhone, an iPod Touch, or an iPad, and you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, and you like to watch videos from places like YouTube, Vimeo, and TED, and you have a Wi-Fi network at home with a fast broadband connection, and especially if you have an Apple TV, then there’s a new app out today that you will love. It’s called ShowYou. If you don’t meet this description, you won’t see the point of the rest of this article, so you can stop reading now.

I’m kidding. You should keep reading, because ShowYou is important. It’s likely to accelerate a bunch of changes that are already underway in the way we think about Internet video—and about television itself.

ShowYou is a mobile, social video browser. As the name implies, it shows you the Internet videos that your friends have been sharing lately on your social networks. At launch, the videos all come from YouTube, Vimeo, and TED, and the social networks include Facebook and Twitter. Over time, more sources and more networks will be added.

What could be so momentous about all that? After all, you can find the videos your friends are talking about online simply by following the links in their tweets or their wall posts. Well, the point is that ShowYou—which comes from Remixation, the same San Francisco company that created the video curation site VodPodisn’t Facebook or Twitter or a Web browser. It’s a slick, simple iOS app, designed from the ground up for one activity: finding, watching, and commenting on videos. And it does that so well that I think it will quickly be classed alongside Flipboard as an app that redefines what’s possible on touchscreen devices. ShowYou puts the Apple devices’ touchscreens to elegant and original use, and in the process it dramatically raises the bar for other video-centric apps. It puts Google’s native YouTube iOS app to shame, just to name one.

I interviewed Remixation CEO Mark Hall about the new app in late March, and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks as a ShowYou beta tester. (You can follow me on ShowYou under the name waderoush.) From my experiences so far, I’ve noticed a few key qualities that make ShowYou stand out from the dozens of other new apps I see every month.

One is that it lifts Internet videos out of environments that weren’t designed to showcase them and puts them on devices that feel like they were made expressly for video. This is especially true on the iPad 2, the device I used to test ShowYou.

A second point is that ShowYou incorporates a lot of little user-interface decisions that, cumulatively, make it not just frictionless but fun to use. For example, when you click on a video in the app’s lineup, it starts playing right away; there’s no need for an extra click on the play button, the way there is with videos embedded in websites. And the iPad version of ShowYou includes a nifty navigation trick: a “grid view” holding up to a thousand video thumbnails in all. To explore this enormous grid, you … Next Page »

Wade Roush is Xconomy's chief correspondent and editor of Xconomy San Francisco. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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