Boxee is best known for software that makes online video more accessible on user’s TV screens. Now it’s working on something totally different — helping users to take their own personal videos and making them available in the cloud. With the launch of Cloudee, the New York City-based startup is introducing a new service for users to store, access, and share their private videos with friends and family, all with an easy-to-use mobile app.
Of course, there’s no shortage of mobile video-sharing applications or cloud storage applications. On the one hand, there are apps like Viddy and Socialcam, which aim to let users shoot or upload videos that they’ve already shot, apply filters and share them on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. And there are services like Dropbox, which have opened up cloud storage and allow users to create folders and share them with others.
Cloudee sits somewhere in the middle: It’s designed with sharing in mind, but private sharing. And while other cloud storage services enable you to share any type of file, Cloudee is all about video storage and sharing. The closest comparable might be private video-sharing service Givit.
The service is launching with a private, invite-only mobile application for the iPhone. Users can upload videos from the app, put them in folders and then choose which family or friends get to view them. They can then be accessed from the mobile app, from a web browser, or even from a user’s Boxee Box.
The introduction of a cloud offering – and a supporting mobile application – could be seen as a bit of a departure for Boxee, which has spent the last several years building software for PCs and connected devices like the eponymous Boxee Box. The cloud service is coming out, not long after the startup has backed away from building and supporting its PC software, showing that the future of the company might be in the cloud after all.
Also a bit of a departure is the focus on personal videos, as so much of its work in the past was focused on building software that made it easier to access the wealth of online and streaming video, first on PCs and later through the Boxee Box.
But Boxee clearly sees an opportunity for private video sharing in a market that isn’t very well developed. The introduction of a cloud service for sharing of personal videos could also open the door for other cloud services from the startup. That includes enabling storage of other media files, for instance, or maybe even the ability to record videos and save videos in the cloud.
Boxee is a partially open-source freeware media player software platform that integrates personal locally stored media with Internet streaming media along with social networking features. Boxee’s social networking component allows users to share information about what they are watching or listening to with other boxee users or friends on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. Since it is partially open source, users can create their own apps, plug-ins, and skins for it. The framework for Boxee is based on source...