Videophlow Makes YouTube a Group Experience

Imagine: you’ve found the next hit video on the web. Having just laughed yourself to tears, you regain your composure long enough to send a link of the video to your best friend, expecting to be praised for your extraordinary sense of humor. Then you wait. Five minutes go by, and still nothing. Did they like it? Did they even watch it? Finally, your efforts are rewarded with a hollow “LOL”.

It’s happened to all of us. The internet does a great job when it comes to sharing media, but it removes the human element from the viewing experience.

Oortle is trying to change that. In late 2007 they launched a webapp called Photophlow, currently in private beta, which at its core is a group chat centered around photographs (though it includes a number of other features as well). Users can browse through a Flickr photo album, and everyone will see the same thing at the same time, allowing for real-time reactions and discussion.

Now, they’re taking the next step with Videophlow, which takes the same dynamic community experience and applies it to YouTube. Groups of friends watch the same videos simultaneously as they interact with chat, emoticons, and gestures – viewers can even throw virtual tomatoes at the screen, complete with an animated splat.

All users will see the same portion of a video at the same time, even if they skip to a different scene. And best of all, groups can seamlessly transition to new videos. This has the chance to be a big hit – I can easily imagine groups of friends swapping (and watching) their favorite videos during late night viewing marathons.

Oortle is showing Videophlow to the public for the first time this afternoon at the Web 2.0 Launchpad, and will be opening in private beta in two weeks. We’ll let you know when that happens, and will have at least 100 invites to give out when the time comes.

We should note that a very similar application is available from SeeToo, which allows for simultaneous viewing of video content from a user’s computer rather than YouTube.