Video discovery, video discovery, video discovery — it’s like this is the thing that’s on everyone’s mind, right? You’ve got billions of hours of video being made available on the web and no good way to find what you want to watch. It’s like that 500 channels but nothing on problem, times infinity. Well, the fact that so many app makers are going after this problem shows two things: 1) There’s a huge business opportunity there, and 2) No one has cracked the code yet.
And so here we are, with Squrl launching a new version of its iOS app, trying to give users new ways to discover and become engaged with streaming videos on their mobile devices. The new app streamlines the process of discovery with a menu that allows users to easily find and watch videos in their queues, along with “fresh,” new videos, as well as those broken down by categories users have chosen.
The Squrl app highlights trending videos through its “What’s Hot” section, where users can browse the hottest videos over the last day, week, or month. It also brings attention to hot topics — like the Election, the iPhone 5, or Gangnam Style. It’s also added a recommendations section, which takes into account multiple sources of data to serve up videos that users might be interested in. That includes interest graph data if a user has connected his Facebook account, as well as viewing data from within the app. The key here is that the more time one spends with the app, the better the recommendations get.
It’s also added a search capability, to let users search for interesting videos that they might have already heard about. That search works across multiple video providers and allows users to search through movies, TV shows, and short-form videos from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Ted, Vimeo, AOL, and Blip.tv. And, of course, users can share whatever videos they’re watching on Squrl, as well as on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
As noted above, there’s a ton of competition in the social video discovery space, and Squrl competitors and quasi-competitors include apps like Showyou, Fanhattan, Dijit, and Flixster, among others. But competition is healthy! Right guys?