Microsoft’s answer to YouTube

It’s code-named Soapbox and On10 has a video of it (and 10,000 invites). Oh, On10 is a Microsoft site. But they disclosed that up front, so I feel better about linking to it than I did about linking to the Walmart thing earlier.

Microsoft says its viewing experience will be better. Jeff Sandquist says that Soapbox supports tagging, RSS everywhere, much higher quality video than YouTube and more. We’ll test that out. Will it be possible to do wide screen?

Comments

  1. I like this so much better than YouTube. But it all comes down to the CONTENT. Let’s face it, YouTube wasn’t bought for the technology, that’s actually fairly mundane. It was bought for all those videos and community. Can MSFT pull it off? Sure, but it will take time and rich integration with other Live properties. I’m ready to start and looking at the interface I’m all excited about putting stuff up there. Now all they need is a way for me to take it with me on my Zune…if I can ever get one.

  2. I like this so much better than YouTube. But it all comes down to the CONTENT. Let’s face it, YouTube wasn’t bought for the technology, that’s actually fairly mundane. It was bought for all those videos and community. Can MSFT pull it off? Sure, but it will take time and rich integration with other Live properties. I’m ready to start and looking at the interface I’m all excited about putting stuff up there. Now all they need is a way for me to take it with me on my Zune…if I can ever get one.

  3. I still think a hardy screen enclosed in a metal case (like a TI calculator cover)would work the best for portable viewers. Smaller goes for everything except the extra viewing screen.
    The viewer could be used as stand-alone or linked in via a cable to an ipod shuffle or nano. Now that would sell. Think of something durable enough for the backpackers to take to the field. Such a system should be fully functional in the cold weather. Wow, just think of the K-2 commercials.
    Nice demo.
    I’ll get back in the box now.

  4. I still think a hardy screen enclosed in a metal case (like a TI calculator cover)would work the best for portable viewers. Smaller goes for everything except the extra viewing screen.
    The viewer could be used as stand-alone or linked in via a cable to an ipod shuffle or nano. Now that would sell. Think of something durable enough for the backpackers to take to the field. Such a system should be fully functional in the cold weather. Wow, just think of the K-2 commercials.
    Nice demo.
    I’ll get back in the box now.

  5. You should sign up for the beta and give it a whirl Robert. I have been playing with it for a while and like it. They have a big hill to climb against YouTube but I have really liked the product teams willingness, and eagerness to be platform agnostic (get the rich media interface appropriate for your OS/Broswer either Windows Media or Flash). I anticipate they will also be building in a lot of tie ins to LiveSpaces as well.

  6. You should sign up for the beta and give it a whirl Robert. I have been playing with it for a while and like it. They have a big hill to climb against YouTube but I have really liked the product teams willingness, and eagerness to be platform agnostic (get the rich media interface appropriate for your OS/Broswer either Windows Media or Flash). I anticipate they will also be building in a lot of tie ins to LiveSpaces as well.

  7. Another Microsoft copycat? Another Microsoft Google wild goose chase? Well stand in line, and a bit late, since all mindshare is going YouTube and iFilm…

    YouTube was about the community and the ease of use, it got the megashare attention (1 winner outta something like 70 sites), iFilm is going programming internet-content casted styled, Viacom big guns not spending billions, but still holding own (one to watch). Google Video was all geeked up, and a royal toothache to use. GoFish is ‘directed content’ without audiences, seemingly. Metacafe runs in the Power User mode, feels dead-man-walking tho. Veoh is all peer-casting, formerly adult content, must use additional software, all AOL kiss-of-death upped. Youare.tv is me-too, college-kiddo project feeling. MSN Video no one (repeat no one) paid any attention whatsoever. Blip.TV me too’ing pure Web 2.0 style. Daily Motion, me too’ing, with French Fries. With blinkx, Jumpcut, Grouper, OurMedia, Grinvi, Bolt, vMix, Revver, Videoegg, Dabble, Vimeo, CastPost, ClipShack, MotionBox, Dropshots, Loomia, Phanfare, Popcast, GlideDigtial, Zippyvideos and gosh tons and tons more… playing the Web 2.0 elimination derby games.

    So what’s the hook here? A pretty UI? Works with Zune and PlaysForSures? URGE hooks? They ANNOUNCE it via private beta? Pluuuuueeeezze. Hit the ground running, chuck full of content, wow us. Not this insider game, usual beta test viral marketing. Doomed already…but I predict they will fudge up MSN Spaces funny-accounting like numbers to chalk it off as a “success”.

    Really, the web turns into a service oligarchy, one site dominating all the rest.

  8. Another Microsoft copycat? Another Microsoft Google wild goose chase? Well stand in line, and a bit late, since all mindshare is going YouTube and iFilm…

    YouTube was about the community and the ease of use, it got the megashare attention (1 winner outta something like 70 sites), iFilm is going programming internet-content casted styled, Viacom big guns not spending billions, but still holding own (one to watch). Google Video was all geeked up, and a royal toothache to use. GoFish is ‘directed content’ without audiences, seemingly. Metacafe runs in the Power User mode, feels dead-man-walking tho. Veoh is all peer-casting, formerly adult content, must use additional software, all AOL kiss-of-death upped. Youare.tv is me-too, college-kiddo project feeling. MSN Video no one (repeat no one) paid any attention whatsoever. Blip.TV me too’ing pure Web 2.0 style. Daily Motion, me too’ing, with French Fries. With blinkx, Jumpcut, Grouper, OurMedia, Grinvi, Bolt, vMix, Revver, Videoegg, Dabble, Vimeo, CastPost, ClipShack, MotionBox, Dropshots, Loomia, Phanfare, Popcast, GlideDigtial, Zippyvideos and gosh tons and tons more… playing the Web 2.0 elimination derby games.

    So what’s the hook here? A pretty UI? Works with Zune and PlaysForSures? URGE hooks? They ANNOUNCE it via private beta? Pluuuuueeeezze. Hit the ground running, chuck full of content, wow us. Not this insider game, usual beta test viral marketing. Doomed already…but I predict they will fudge up MSN Spaces funny-accounting like numbers to chalk it off as a “success”.

    Really, the web turns into a service oligarchy, one site dominating all the rest.

  9. Robert, aren’t you supposed to be going on and on about how copying the technology is only getting half of what makes youtube popular? Soapbox is as perfect an example of that as any. It’s got a fair amount of bloat, a big clunky microsoft interface, and the on10 video should raise several red flags. They claimed there is no community on youtube…hmm…

    Plus, when asked about what happens when “HOT PORN” (or whatever example they used) is put on say a children’s clip, their response was that people should just vote that tag down rather than that tag being removed. I’m sorry, but if the folks at Sesame Street decide to put a clip up, it doesn’t matter how small the tags “HOT TASTY ANIMAL PENIS” is made by users voting it down; it is still there and kids will still see it.

    It screams copycat service and is doomed to failure. Oh wait, not failure. It’s doomed to “success” by Microsoft standards by pimping it in as many places possible and integrating with “windows live messenger.” In other words, “success” by default and cross linking, not by building a quality product.

  10. Robert, aren’t you supposed to be going on and on about how copying the technology is only getting half of what makes youtube popular? Soapbox is as perfect an example of that as any. It’s got a fair amount of bloat, a big clunky microsoft interface, and the on10 video should raise several red flags. They claimed there is no community on youtube…hmm…

    Plus, when asked about what happens when “HOT PORN” (or whatever example they used) is put on say a children’s clip, their response was that people should just vote that tag down rather than that tag being removed. I’m sorry, but if the folks at Sesame Street decide to put a clip up, it doesn’t matter how small the tags “HOT TASTY ANIMAL PENIS” is made by users voting it down; it is still there and kids will still see it.

    It screams copycat service and is doomed to failure. Oh wait, not failure. It’s doomed to “success” by Microsoft standards by pimping it in as many places possible and integrating with “windows live messenger.” In other words, “success” by default and cross linking, not by building a quality product.

  11. It’s doomed to “success” by Microsoft standards by pimping it in as many places possible and integrating with “windows live messenger.”

    Ain’t that the truth. Amazing how easy that code is to crack. Anything will be replicated, and plugged into ‘existing Microsoft communities’ and will be CYA automatically knighted a success, even without a single real external user. In addition, they will take the usual MSN Spacey-like tact…”it’s for regular people, PRIVATELY sharing videos with only a few people”, “we have huge huge numbers, because we say so.”

    Trainwreck in the making, of course, they will never admit it…

    I really don’t know why they bother in things content, just give us the best darn OS and Office Suite in the world, and make it really Live…

  12. It’s doomed to “success” by Microsoft standards by pimping it in as many places possible and integrating with “windows live messenger.”

    Ain’t that the truth. Amazing how easy that code is to crack. Anything will be replicated, and plugged into ‘existing Microsoft communities’ and will be CYA automatically knighted a success, even without a single real external user. In addition, they will take the usual MSN Spacey-like tact…”it’s for regular people, PRIVATELY sharing videos with only a few people”, “we have huge huge numbers, because we say so.”

    Trainwreck in the making, of course, they will never admit it…

    I really don’t know why they bother in things content, just give us the best darn OS and Office Suite in the world, and make it really Live…

  13. it is excellent, actually, i t even manages the request in simi-modal windows. leaving a comment, reporting a video or passing from normal view in just one click without any extra window opening, the same goes for navigation. it is simply striking.

    i am actually very surprised that they had supported simi-modal, and that decided to input smart buffer for the videos.. it is really something.

  14. it is excellent, actually, i t even manages the request in simi-modal windows. leaving a comment, reporting a video or passing from normal view in just one click without any extra window opening, the same goes for navigation. it is simply striking.

    i am actually very surprised that they had supported simi-modal, and that decided to input smart buffer for the videos.. it is really something.

  15. I have seen a handful of SoapBox videos on some blogs and sites. There were both MS-centric vids; one was a commercial for Xbox360′s launch in India. I forget what the other one was. But they did have much better quality than you find on YouTube. I wonder what codec they’re using. They use flash as the plugin, but flash is able to stream both flv and wmv, I believe.

    “yes, yes, MS has soapbox. Allow me to convey the collective feeling of the internet: NOBODY CARES”

    You cared enough to post. :p

  16. I have seen a handful of SoapBox videos on some blogs and sites. There were both MS-centric vids; one was a commercial for Xbox360′s launch in India. I forget what the other one was. But they did have much better quality than you find on YouTube. I wonder what codec they’re using. They use flash as the plugin, but flash is able to stream both flv and wmv, I believe.

    “yes, yes, MS has soapbox. Allow me to convey the collective feeling of the internet: NOBODY CARES”

    You cared enough to post. :p

  17. I know many of you are trashing MS for copying YouTube, but how is what Google did “morally” superior? Google copied YouTube with GoogleVideo, failed, and resorted to buying YouTube. I don’t see much different between the two in a way that one would be mocked while the other worshipped.

  18. I know many of you are trashing MS for copying YouTube, but how is what Google did “morally” superior? Google copied YouTube with GoogleVideo, failed, and resorted to buying YouTube. I don’t see much different between the two in a way that one would be mocked while the other worshipped.

  19. @18. It’s Scoble that says copying doesn’t work. I mean, afterall he’s said that trying to copy the Beatles didn’t work. Tell that to The Monkees.

  20. @18. It’s Scoble that says copying doesn’t work. I mean, afterall he’s said that trying to copy the Beatles didn’t work. Tell that to The Monkees.

  21. As a user of Youtube, one feature I wanted and delivered by soapbox, is the ability to navigate while watching a video.

    Now another feature I want on top of that, never mind, I will try to convey it internally :)

    Thanks Robert for the link. I was in the waiting list earlier but now able to grab an invitation instantansously.

  22. As a user of Youtube, one feature I wanted and delivered by soapbox, is the ability to navigate while watching a video.

    Now another feature I want on top of that, never mind, I will try to convey it internally :)

    Thanks Robert for the link. I was in the waiting list earlier but now able to grab an invitation instantansously.

  23. I love stories that begin with “And Microsoft’s answer to so and so is…”? By that early point I’ve fallen asleep or yawned and go off to the site they are trying to answer to.

    Is there anything innovative about Microsoft? How can anyone get excited about that place? They are losing their relevancy faster than their declining stock price.

  24. I love stories that begin with “And Microsoft’s answer to so and so is…”? By that early point I’ve fallen asleep or yawned and go off to the site they are trying to answer to.

    Is there anything innovative about Microsoft? How can anyone get excited about that place? They are losing their relevancy faster than their declining stock price.

  25. As much as we bag MS, I think what is really interesting is that the folks in Redmond actually
    created a product that works great on a PC *and* a Mac. WTF?? Macs?

    Where are the Mac people now?

    After testing it out, it works great on Firefox and Safari.

    Their Flash Embedded Player has the best quality video of any of the existing services out there.

  26. As much as we bag MS, I think what is really interesting is that the folks in Redmond actually
    created a product that works great on a PC *and* a Mac. WTF?? Macs?

    Where are the Mac people now?

    After testing it out, it works great on Firefox and Safari.

    Their Flash Embedded Player has the best quality video of any of the existing services out there.

  27. I wouldn’t trash MS for trying, nor Google for buying.

    Yahoo is agressively pushing their video service, and it isn’t close to competing with YouTube.

    How can MS make this a success? They have to leverage this technology across their largest userbase – live, spaces, hotmail and xbox.

    MS will find success when their services collectively reach critical mass. I’m sure this is part of a long-term strategy. But this incremental, slow growth model can only take them so far. There are a limited number of eyeballs. If YouTube is pulling in 100 million pairs a month, then, just like TV households, you have to create a current programming strategy (not merely a web tools development strategy) to compete with that.

    On10 demonstrated that “yes, Microsoft has a web-tools development strategy” but “no, Microsoft does not have a current programming content strategy.”

    Until they fullfill the latter half of that equation, I don’t see them achieving success.

    Good Morning America still has “YouTube Wednesdays.”

    What kind of crappy name is “soapbox” anyhow? Didn’t their marketing ever hear the phrase “get off your soapbox”? When a person is on the “soapbox” it’s not always a positive…

  28. I wouldn’t trash MS for trying, nor Google for buying.

    Yahoo is agressively pushing their video service, and it isn’t close to competing with YouTube.

    How can MS make this a success? They have to leverage this technology across their largest userbase – live, spaces, hotmail and xbox.

    MS will find success when their services collectively reach critical mass. I’m sure this is part of a long-term strategy. But this incremental, slow growth model can only take them so far. There are a limited number of eyeballs. If YouTube is pulling in 100 million pairs a month, then, just like TV households, you have to create a current programming strategy (not merely a web tools development strategy) to compete with that.

    On10 demonstrated that “yes, Microsoft has a web-tools development strategy” but “no, Microsoft does not have a current programming content strategy.”

    Until they fullfill the latter half of that equation, I don’t see them achieving success.

    Good Morning America still has “YouTube Wednesdays.”

    What kind of crappy name is “soapbox” anyhow? Didn’t their marketing ever hear the phrase “get off your soapbox”? When a person is on the “soapbox” it’s not always a positive…

  29. The first thing I did was go to soapbox.com and got redirected to fool.com (AKA the Motley Fool site).

    That’s going to be confusing.

  30. No one cares… no one wants a YouTube from Microsoft, no one wants a music player. People just want Microsoft to make their computers work well. That’s it. It simply doesn’t matter if this is faster, better, happier. No one cares.

    Microsoft again wastes money misunderstandign who they are.

  31. No one cares… no one wants a YouTube from Microsoft, no one wants a music player. People just want Microsoft to make their computers work well. That’s it. It simply doesn’t matter if this is faster, better, happier. No one cares.

    Microsoft again wastes money misunderstandign who they are.

  32. The posting of videos to the internet is just another fad anyway. Consider 5 yrs ago when everyone was making websites(before blogging was known by most).Then along came blogging,which is has been in decline and social networks(also in decline). Videos will be the next thing out…then perhaps podcasts will be next. If you are moving behind the trends,instead of in front of them, then it will never matter how good your service is.

    AXE

  33. The posting of videos to the internet is just another fad anyway. Consider 5 yrs ago when everyone was making websites(before blogging was known by most).Then along came blogging,which is has been in decline and social networks(also in decline). Videos will be the next thing out…then perhaps podcasts will be next. If you are moving behind the trends,instead of in front of them, then it will never matter how good your service is.

    AXE

  34. About the same time as YouTube’s Chad and Steve joined the Billionaire
    Boys’ Club, Bill Gates let a few video junkies in on MSN’s Soapbox
    video sharing site (currently in Beta). Is it Bill’s YouTube killer?
    Take a guess.

    YouTube’s never been much of a looker, but other, smaller sites from
    Grouper (with their video wall) to Vimeo (maybe the friendliest
    community of users) have delivered innovations that range from
    practical (let me enter my tags while the clip is uploading – which
    should be industry standard by now) to aesthetic (how much does it
    cost to hire a designer with a sense of style?). Soapbox is just a
    huge step backwards. It feels like the worst sort of “me too”
    Microsoft product designed mostly to stop MSN users wandering
    off-brand to do their video posting. Good luck with that.

    So what’s wrong with it?

    The name – MSN video sharing seems less about having your voice heard
    than your pets seen. Good name for a Current.tv channel. Small
    niggle, but unless they’re hoping for a seething hotbed of political
    unrest, ‘Soapbox’ feels incongruous here.

    The interface – OK, we’re in Beta (and Revver’s beta was pretty ugly
    on the eyes) but it boggles the mind that any design-by-committee team
    could have decided to use the smallest point-size available for the
    upload page. Serious eye-strain. Seriously user-unfriendly. And let
    me upload the damn clip while I fill in the data!

    The aesthetics – Blue, boxy, bland and, so far, bare-bones. Looks
    like it’s designed more with an MSN brand template in mind than any
    sort of pleasing user experience. Makes AOL Uncut look like the
    cutting edge. Ouch.

    The right is wrong – Clips play on the right hand side of the browser,
    not the left. That weirds me out. Are we all so used to the YouTube
    template that we can’t deal with this? I wonder. I would love to
    think some user-interface designer has a good reason for doing this,
    but I suspect the Soapbox team are so locked down by the MSN design
    template that the only point of differentiation they could come up
    with was “YouTube runs clips on the left, we’ll run them on the
    right!” Trust me guys, you shouldn’t have.

    It’s unfair to judge the glitchy upload and streaming times yet (it’s
    in Beta, remember?) but there’s a lot of easy fixed no-brainer stuff
    wrong with Soapbox right now. More thought seems to have gone into
    integrating Soapbox with your MSN “passport” than making this feel
    like a contender. Surprising? Not really. We rate it D minus.

  35. About the same time as YouTube’s Chad and Steve joined the Billionaire
    Boys’ Club, Bill Gates let a few video junkies in on MSN’s Soapbox
    video sharing site (currently in Beta). Is it Bill’s YouTube killer?
    Take a guess.

    YouTube’s never been much of a looker, but other, smaller sites from
    Grouper (with their video wall) to Vimeo (maybe the friendliest
    community of users) have delivered innovations that range from
    practical (let me enter my tags while the clip is uploading – which
    should be industry standard by now) to aesthetic (how much does it
    cost to hire a designer with a sense of style?). Soapbox is just a
    huge step backwards. It feels like the worst sort of “me too”
    Microsoft product designed mostly to stop MSN users wandering
    off-brand to do their video posting. Good luck with that.

    So what’s wrong with it?

    The name – MSN video sharing seems less about having your voice heard
    than your pets seen. Good name for a Current.tv channel. Small
    niggle, but unless they’re hoping for a seething hotbed of political
    unrest, ‘Soapbox’ feels incongruous here.

    The interface – OK, we’re in Beta (and Revver’s beta was pretty ugly
    on the eyes) but it boggles the mind that any design-by-committee team
    could have decided to use the smallest point-size available for the
    upload page. Serious eye-strain. Seriously user-unfriendly. And let
    me upload the damn clip while I fill in the data!

    The aesthetics – Blue, boxy, bland and, so far, bare-bones. Looks
    like it’s designed more with an MSN brand template in mind than any
    sort of pleasing user experience. Makes AOL Uncut look like the
    cutting edge. Ouch.

    The right is wrong – Clips play on the right hand side of the browser,
    not the left. That weirds me out. Are we all so used to the YouTube
    template that we can’t deal with this? I wonder. I would love to
    think some user-interface designer has a good reason for doing this,
    but I suspect the Soapbox team are so locked down by the MSN design
    template that the only point of differentiation they could come up
    with was “YouTube runs clips on the left, we’ll run them on the
    right!” Trust me guys, you shouldn’t have.

    It’s unfair to judge the glitchy upload and streaming times yet (it’s
    in Beta, remember?) but there’s a lot of easy fixed no-brainer stuff
    wrong with Soapbox right now. More thought seems to have gone into
    integrating Soapbox with your MSN “passport” than making this feel
    like a contender. Surprising? Not really. We rate it D minus.

  36. p.s. excuse the crappy formating – that was a cut n’ paste from Gmail, but otherwise all my own opinions after spending some time in the beta…

  37. p.s. excuse the crappy formating – that was a cut n’ paste from Gmail, but otherwise all my own opinions after spending some time in the beta…

  38. A year and half ago or thereabouts Technorati said it was tracking over 100 mil blogs.Now it says it is only tracking 57.3 mil blogs. It is clearly in the numbers.

    The blogging boom has come and gone,Robert.Just because you do not see it or agree with it does not make it so.It may surprise you to know but you are not God of all knowledge. If my response seems a little agressive,take a look at your response to my 1st comment and you will see a mirror.

  39. A year and half ago or thereabouts Technorati said it was tracking over 100 mil blogs.Now it says it is only tracking 57.3 mil blogs. It is clearly in the numbers.

    The blogging boom has come and gone,Robert.Just because you do not see it or agree with it does not make it so.It may surprise you to know but you are not God of all knowledge. If my response seems a little agressive,take a look at your response to my 1st comment and you will see a mirror.

  40. Microsoft always will have possibilities of winning any “battle”, but to what price? I do not believe that single the name and promises as better quality are sufficient to win to YoutuBe.
    The time will say. A greeting.

  41. Microsoft always will have possibilities of winning any “battle”, but to what price? I do not believe that single the name and promises as better quality are sufficient to win to YoutuBe.
    The time will say. A greeting.

  42. I’d forgotten how truly horrible on10 videos were, screaming, yelling (Volume on 11) Tina Wood yap yapping, doing the short-attention-span MTV Jump Cuts theater…someone sedate her before any performance.

    Quickie review: Overloaded UI, generic blueish MSN Spaces/Windows Msgr template, it be quite disconcerting viewing on right side, and the missile-command Tag Soup is darned annoying…”My Soapbox” area, oh pluuuzze. And the Pocket PC tie-in’s and RSS hooks, oh brother, how so Microsoft. What no mention of “works with Zune”? ;) Basically a MSN Spaces copycat does Video…

    Rob going YouTube “is not that social”, ohmigawd…70 some video sites out there, all but 2, YouTube and iFilm are ghost-towns. But geee, we all know how well Microsoft does “social”. Gotta come up with a better answer than that.

  43. I’d forgotten how truly horrible on10 videos were, screaming, yelling (Volume on 11) Tina Wood yap yapping, doing the short-attention-span MTV Jump Cuts theater…someone sedate her before any performance.

    Quickie review: Overloaded UI, generic blueish MSN Spaces/Windows Msgr template, it be quite disconcerting viewing on right side, and the missile-command Tag Soup is darned annoying…”My Soapbox” area, oh pluuuzze. And the Pocket PC tie-in’s and RSS hooks, oh brother, how so Microsoft. What no mention of “works with Zune”? ;) Basically a MSN Spaces copycat does Video…

    Rob going YouTube “is not that social”, ohmigawd…70 some video sites out there, all but 2, YouTube and iFilm are ghost-towns. But geee, we all know how well Microsoft does “social”. Gotta come up with a better answer than that.

  44. PS – What’s with all the 80s Valley Girlish Marketing push-pins that Microsoft hires, seems most of the product lines front those ‘fer sures’, that or the newly hired Wagged fluffs.

  45. PS – What’s with all the 80s Valley Girlish Marketing push-pins that Microsoft hires, seems most of the product lines front those ‘fer sures’, that or the newly hired Wagged fluffs.