Here’s this morning’s roundup of the latest action:
Joost opens widget API to developers: Joost, the oft-hyped online video site started by the founders of Skype, has soft-launched an application programming interface this week. It is trying to get third-party developers to build widgets on top of its online TV network so Joost users can do more with the site’s data.
The company already has sample widgets available on its test site, including a “What’s Similar” widget that displays recommendations for video clips similar to the ones you’re already watching. The most exciting aspect of Joost’s API is the access it gives developers to build social tagging and video-programming features into the site. As NewTeeVee notes: It’s a way for users to create sets of videos tailored specifically to their own interests, with minimal effort.
Widgets can do wonders for a site’s growth, but we’re still not sure if they will for Joost. For example, Myspace stood out a couple years ago for allowing outside developers to build widgets that integrated with its social network, giving users the chance to redefine how they used Myspace.
However, Myspace’s flexibility — and hardcore marketing in influential Los Angeles circles — came in tandem with market-leader Friendster’s implosion.
Joost doesn’t appear to have the same advantages. It may have raised a lot of money, with big content deals under its belt, and a solid grounding in how peer-to-peer video-sharing works. But, a lot of other big video sites, like Dailymotion, Veoh and Metacafe, have their own ideas about the future of online video, and they are raising big bucks, too.
Fliqz’s new super-easy toolbar to upload video — Fliqz, the Berkeley start-up, has made it extremely easily to copy a video into your blog. Until now, it has offered an nifty video upload tool, but not as easy as the toolbar. That older product lets you upload video into a player on your Web site sites (the player is called Fliqzster) and does it without forcing you to download any software. That was simple, but you still had to tab to your hompage to to get the code, and then toggle back to your editor to paste it in your article or Web page. But now the company has released a toolbar, called “Quikvid,” which lets you upload any video from your desktop or other source straight from your editor (because it reside on the top of your browser). If you’re a blogger writing an entry, you simply raise your eye to your toolbar, browse to select the video from your desktop, then hit “upload” and cut and paste the generated code into the editor. The toolbar is an install on your IE browser. There’s no other product like it on the market, Fliqz’s Kris Drey says.
Viacom hits guy for copyright infringement, but does so for a post he made of content that Viacom itself had taken from him without permission — Read this bizarrely ironic story here.
NBC Universal won’t renew contract with Apple’s iTunes service — NBC Universal says it was unable to come to an agreement with Apple on pricing, and so will no longer sell digital downloads of television shows on iTunes after the current contract runs out in December, according to the New York Times. NBC was the largest supplier of digital video to Apple, accounting for 40 percent of video downloads, including hits such as “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Office” and “Heroes.” This is a big deal, because its the latest evidence studios are bugged by Apple’s power and are trying to break free. It comes after NBC has made progress recently in creating its own joint venture, now called Hulu, to compete with iTunes and YouTube. In July, the Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the world’s biggest music corporation, said it would not renew its long-term contract with iTunes.