The social network has taught us to love sharing our thoughts at the speed of light, and now our mobile videos are ready to follow suit. Socialcam, Justin.Tv’s free app for iOS and Android, allows you to instantly upload your videos, tag your friends, and see what everyone else is doing at the same time. It’s not quite real time video social networking, but it’s really close. And it’s getting to be really popular. Out less than three months and Socialcam racked up 1 million downloads for iOS alone by the end of June, and brags they have more than 355,000 unique active users already. Along with their rising popularity, Socialcam has been increasing their features, now allowing you to trim video length, privatize your collection, and tap to focus. Check out some of the other capabilities of Socialcam in the official demo video below. Is this early traction in the market a sign that Socialcam’s version of lifelogging could hit the mainstream?
Socialcam has much of what we’ve come to expect from social media: you can find friends, tag them in your content, share/watch content with others, and essentially establish a network of video feeds to follow. It’s also integrated with your established social network: you can sign in via Facebook if you want, and you can easily push your videos to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Socialcam bridges the geographic gap between us all, letting us go anywhere and share what we’re doing and seeing whenever we want:
What makes Socialcam most interesting to me, however, is that all of this happens more or less instantly. You film yourself in action, you share, others are notified and can watch in moments. Essentially this means Socialcam can give you almost live fees of what your friends are doing. Sure, most people will probably take the time to edit and alter their videos before sharing, but the potential is still there. What you’re looking at here is one of the first widely available, and popular, lifelogging apps.
I really have no idea what we’ll do with it. Socialcam’s millions of videos are rather seamlessly integrated into Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ such that I can’t find any discernible patterns as to its use. Are we simply turning our mobiles into reasonable vlogging tools? Are we creating a visual version of texting? Are we simply tweeting with short, hopefully poignant video clips? Any or all of those are certainly possible, but for now, early adopter habits don’t show us which direction Socialcam is heading towards.
That doesn’t seem to keep Socialcam from covering all their bases and enabling the app to spread even further. They’ve recently rolled out new versions for iOS and Android, upgraded their features to follow user requests (especially those in favor of privacy settings, the approval of followers before they can see your feed, etc). The list of modes you can share through is getting bigger, now including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Email, SMS, Posterous, Tumblr and DropBox. Socialcam is also expanding beyond English, now translated for use in French, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and others languages. It seems clear that the company wants to maintain their early momentum.
The hardware for easily recording the world around you has been available for years, and it’s constantly improving. We’ve shown you video goggles you can take anywhere, and spy glasses that will blend in with any social scene. None of that will matter, however, if we aren’t drawn to the idea of quickly sharing their videos with everyone. Socialcam is tentative proof that at least some of us are more than ready. Million+ downloads and hundreds of thousands of regular users – that’s impressive. What will be more impressive however, is if Socialcam can convince the general public that those video cameras we take everywhere (called smart phones) are ready to be used as such. If the wave of early users gathers into a tsunami of adoption, get ready for lifelogging to change the world. Those riots in UK? They’re already talking about how mobile videos could put people in jail. Imagine if everyone with a smart phone was tweeting their videos to the world in real time during such disasters. That’s just one small effect we may see if lifelogging hits the mainstream. Whether Socialcam keeps growing, or another competitor takes their place, the future of video sharing is near. Get ready to see it all.