UpdatedA San Francisco company has just launched Twidvid.com, an easy way to stream videos when you tweet.
But it does more than just let you link to a video when you tweet. It uploads the video in real time so that it’s essentially a live stream.
Now, I don’t blame you if you’re scratching your head about this, because it seems every version imaginable of Tweet-(fill-in-the-blank) has launched in the last few months.
In fact, a cross-town rival company launched another twitter-video service, Twitvid.io, just a few days ago, making it the first company to easily integrate video into Twitter. So now, there’s a full-on race by these two companies to become the king of video tweeting. I’m told by Twitvid.com’s Adil Lalani that he has never met the Twidvid.io’s team and that both teams had worked away secretly without knowing the other was about to launch. When Twidvid.io launched on Monday, Twidvid.com decided to rush its offering out yesterday.
The two are similar. They let you tweet video directly from their sites, or from your mobile device.
Twitvid.com may have the branding edge, with the simpler Twitvid.com domain.
But Twidvid.com takes its technology a step further: It offers an application programming interface (API), which lets other companies integrate Twitvid.com’s service into their own offerings. It’s also added in technology that allows real-time streaming — in other words, it followers of your tweets start watching the video immediately after you upload it. That’s because it sends the tweet even before you finish uploading the video from your desktop or other device. The follower gets the tweet and starts downloading it right away. We wrote about Eatlime’s patent-pending streaming technology last year. Twitvid.com will also offer an easy way to let you resume uploading if you lose your connection. It resumes uploading from the point of the disconnect (much needed if you’re using a standard mobile phone to do your video tweeting; many subscribers are still relying on weak networks such as EDGE, where connections are often lost).
[Update: Twitvid.io just got in touch to announce it's releasing an API within the hour and that it's got a number of other features ready trump Twitvid.com, including a direct-from-webcam feature to be launched by the end of the weekend. That, together with its better viral features -- which let you watch and reply to video conversations directly from its site -- may be enough to help it retake the momentum edge. Update II: This is getting intense: TwitVid.com just rushed out its own webcam feature, and is promising to match Twitvid.io on virality features shortly.]
Of course, it’s been possible to upload videos for tweeting before Twidvid.io and Twidvid.com. You could upload a video to YouTube, for example, grab the link and then tweet it. But that takes several steps. Just look at the success of Twitpic, which lets you tweet photos, for proof that people prefer the simplicity of having a service that integrates directly into twitter (much easier than uploading a photo to Flickr, and then taking a link).
Twitvid.com is the creation of a five-person company called Eatlime.com, which until now has been making money from video advertising. It offers ads in overlays and prerolls ads and had done well by reducing bandwidth costs for its customers. Twitvid’s Lalani tells me the company is making money from that existing business and that this stability has allowed it to focus entirely on Twidvid. It’s backed with money from venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson and a group of angel investors, including Stanford’s Rajeev Motwani (early advisor to Google), Amidzad, former Google employees Georges Harik and Aydin Senkut, as well as XG Ventures, another group of former Googlers.
Twidvid.io’s parent company, meanwhile, is Fliggo, which is backed by Y-Combinator.
Lalani says his company isn’t putting ads in any vidoes yet, because advertisers are still reluctant to engage with user-generated videos. However he says he expects that to change over the next two years, and so hopes the feature will be able to make money that way.
Disclosure: Amidzad, Harik and Senkut are all angel backers of VentureBeat.