Video is getting a lot more social — and a new startup is trying to make it even easier to discover and share videos. The company’s called Unknown Vector, and it launched its social video desktop application, uvLayer, just a couple of weeks ago.
Users download the uvLayer desktop application (for Mac OSX or Windows XP and Vista) as well as Adobe AIR, which UV’s technology is built on. From that point, users can import their Facebook friends (and even use the application on Facebook, where videos are published automatically) and start searching for video, courtesy of YouTube and Truveo.
uvLayer lets you build collections of videos based on a search term, and when you access the video via that search term, you can drag and drop it onto a canvas-like screen. Multiple videos appear as thumbnail-sized “stacks” (like a stack of photos), and an activity label shows you what your friends are watching at any time. By dragging and dropping a video collection on a friend’s buddy icon, you can send videos to friends to watch.
You can also send videos from you collection via email or IM a copy of the URL of any video collection. Recipients can then watch at the online destination or download uvLayer themselves to watch.
Users can also create a playlist, so they can watch multiple videos in sequence without having to go back, search, and hit play — something YouTube doesn’t have.
Right now, there aren’t any privacy features built in, but those are coming later, says company cofounder Michael Hoydich. But since the application currently only lets you bring in Facebook friends, says Hoydich, that serves as a kind of privacy block for now.
The lack of robust privacy features combined with the need for users to download the application seem like potential drawbacks, but Hoydich says the company plans to release a flash-based application similar to its desktop app on March 1 that will give users the same features without having to download.
Hoydich says the site has seen tremendous and surprising success in countries like France and Brazil, although he wouldn’t give us any numbers. He did say that, though, that Brazil has proven such a successful market (second only to US user numbers), that UV will be releasing a Portuguese version of the application next month.
There aren’t many people using Adobe’s AIR technology, Hoydich says. He says that using such innovative technology will give UVLayer a leg up against competitors like Joost, a desktop TV company. Hoydich says UVLayer is also working on partnerships with several content producers in order to distribute videos — more than just linking to YouTube videos.
This could create a fascinating way to watch TV, if UV can pull it off, as users watching content — say a channel or movie — could instantly send the video to other friends and share in the experience — something UV plans to monetize on by sharing in ad revenue with content producers.
The company reports that it’s had conversations with several “top tier” VCs for its first round of funding but has been focused on its beta version and so far is surviving on cash from its two cofounders, Hoydich and Mark Gray.
Gray and Hoydich have worked for years in the online inudstry, having founded and led two companies, IndustryNext and Incognito Digital from 2004 to 2008. IndustryNext, a technology and design services firm, had clients such as eBay, Sony, NBA, AOL, and NBC Universal; while Incognito Digital is a marketing agency that serves Bloomberg and FOX, among others. The two have worked at a number of companies, ranging from iWon and Excite to Yahoo’s Geocities.
UV’s team of seven have offices in New York and San Francisco.
David Adewumi, a contributing writer with VentureBeat, is the founder & CEO of http://heekya.com a social storytelling platform billed “The Wikipedia of Stories.”
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