The first day of Disrupt NY 2013 is nearing its end, but we can’t end things without giving our Audience Choice winner a chance to present in front of our judges.
Today, the Israel-based folks behind the video messaging app Glide (not to be confused with Battlefield contestant Glider) have been voted our first Audience Choice Battlefield company, and today they’ve officially launched the beta version of their Android app here on our Disrupt stage.
The team pushed the Glide iOS app out the door earlier this year, and the concept hasn’t changed since then. Glide users can broadcast live video missives to their friends who are then able to respond with a broadcast of their own — think of it as a sort of video-centric walkie-talkie. Of course, you’re not always going to have the time to see what your friends are having for lunch as it happens, so Glide stores those conversation snippets online for you to sift through later.
Perhaps one of Glide’s biggest assets at this point is how easy it is to operate — no small feat, especially considering how quickly the whole thing works.
After connecting the app with your Facebook account, you’ll be greeted with a list of your Glide-using Facebook friends, and a quick tap of the broadcast button means you’re off to the races. Even if you start off with a whopping zero friends, you’ll still have quick access to at least one ‘person’ — the so-called “Glide Bot 3000″ provides tips for new users when you send it a message. Once you start broadcasting your video to friends, they’ll start seeing them almost immediately — co-founder and CMO Adam Korbl says it’ll take about a second before you can see those clips.
Glide indeed makes it very easy to asynchronously video chat with friends, but you’ll still have to be fairly brief. According to Glide CTO Jon Caras, the team performed usability testing to determine the ideal length of a Glide clip — 30 seconds wasn’t long enough to get a message across, and 60 seconds was long enough to prompt some testers to skip videos entirely. After a bit of deliberation, the team settled on 42-second shareable clips, mostly because Caras is a Douglas Adams fan.
As you might expect, the beta Android app doesn’t play home to every single feature that the original iOS app does (it can’t play all those snippets consecutively like some conversational supercut), and at this point you can’t switch cameras in the middle of a broadcast. Still, even at this relatively early stage, the core functionality seems to work like a charm and I still had a great time trading dorky clips with our very own Darrell Etherington and Romain Dillet as we buzzed around the Manhattan Center. Naturally, I’m not the only one who has taken a shine to the app. So far, Glide has raised $2 million in funding from former ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger CEO Orey Gilliam and ooVoo founder/CEO Philippe Schwartz — their first respective angel investments.
Where do you go next? Integrating other forms of communication?
Glide already works with text and emoji — the team doesn’t want to water down the core value proposition of the technology.
This is just one-to-one?
One-to-one chat is supported, but group chat is as well. It’s like video chat meets TiVo — think timeshifted conversations.
Do these videos live anywhere independently?
The team is working on the feature now, and it’s coming on iOS. Soon users can export them from the proprietary video format to a more common format that can be viewed anywhere or saved to the device.
How would you defend against Facebook building the same feature?
The tech they’ve built is patent pending, and they consider themselves first to market legally. Facebook is not an expert in the video chat space, but Glide will be a few months ahead and define the market.
How is this different from Qik?
Glide is a conversation platform, and Qik is about broadcasting — the Glide team thinks they’re fundamentally different. Qik also uses HTTP live streaming, which makes for 12 second latency, which is way too slow to keep up with the attention span on a modern user and doesn’t work for conversations.