Of the eight different examples listed on the Google TV’s new channel spotlight page, ShortForm’s channel demonstrates the full potential of the search engine giant’s internet TV platform.
Last week, Google launched a new version of its Google TV software for streaming set-top boxes and smart TVs. Among the new features is the addition of new channels (a.k.a. web apps) of content from a variety of different media partners, such as NHL, Vevo, New York Times and Crackle.
But not all Google TV channels are created by media companies. For instance, ShortForm is actually a social network that lets users (called Video Jockeys or VJs) create and curate their own channels of content using video clips from YouTube, Vimeo and others — sort of like having your own version of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0.
The most popular VJ channels on ShortForm are then featured on the company’s Google TV channel.
“We designed the ShortForm Google TV web app for the 10-foot experience,” said ShortForm CEO Nader Ghaffari in an interview with VentureBeat. And by “10-foot experience” he means an experience that’s comparable to how you’d watch a regular television channel from a cable or satellite provider.
VJ channels are essentially just playlists of video clips. You don’t have to click the play button for each video to begin either, as the channel is intended to remain streaming until you direct it to stop. The interface is pretty simple and you can easily navigate between different videos and VJ channels with a basic remote control. If you don’t have a Google TV enabled set-top box or smart TV, you can check out ShortForm’s channel via Google’s Chrome web browser. You’ll need to substitute the arrows on your keyboard for the remote control.
One thing you won’t get through the Google TV web app are the social features available on ShortForm’s website. In August, the startup added the ability to let users watch channels concurrently as they’re curated by the VJ. Users can also communicate with each other via a chat room on the website. Ghaffari said these social feature’s aren’t available through the Google TV web app because it would take away from the 10-foot experience. You can, however, invite friends over to your house to watch the VJ channel on a big screen, which is a pretty fair trade-off.
The Google TV integration is part of ShortForm’s push to make the service available across multiple platforms. The company also recently launched a new features that allows anyone to embed VJ channel’s on a Facebook fan page or website. It’s actually pretty useful, especially if you have a YouTube channel full of original content that rarely sees traffic beyond the confines of YouTube itself or individual blog posts.
ShortForm has over a million monthly visits and more than 3,000 active VJ channels since launching to the public in 2010, according to Ghaffari. The San Francisco-based startup has raised a total of $1.3 million in funding from NetService Ventures, Individuals’ Venture Funds, Seraph Group and others.