Sometimes it’s hard to remember which video you have seen, left a comment on, rated, or who recommended it to you. And it’s getting harder to cut the noise in the heavily crowded online video space (YouTube users alone are uploading 15 hours of new content every 60 seconds). This is where Mitter, a service provided by Tokyo-based Metacast comes in (the site is available in English).
Mitter wants to do for video what recently introduced Dutch startup Twones does for music. The service tracks viewing patterns over multiple video services and generates a social feed based on that information. And much like Twones, Mitter doesn’t make much sense without installing an add-on for Firefox or the Internet Explorer (there is also a browser-independent bookmarklet available). To date, the Mitter toolbar has been distributed 1.5 million times. It’s now being actively used by more than 150,000 people, mostly in Japan.
Mitter is all about aggregating metadata of online videos and using the information to let users socialize around it. Once the tracker is installed, you will see a Mitter button next to every video accessed on 14 different sites like YouTube, Veoh, Seesmic etc. After pressing the button, you can tag, rate and comment on the video (the service calls this activity “mittering”), which will be then added to your history on the website (this happens even if you don’t mitter the video). In addition, the activity can be posted to Twitter and several Japanese blogging platforms.
Your history can be set to private or shared with friends. Other users with a similar taste can follow you, receive updates on your video viewing log and possibly find new content that’s of interest to them (Mitter->Twitter, get it?). It’s also possible to join discussion groups, view rankings of popular videos and dig up videos that are similar to the listed one (and share the relevant video, too).
Mitter does fill a gap in the rapidly growing web video space but there are some drawbacks. Even though the site wants to let you share “experiences” (and not necessarily the videos themselves), it would make a lot more sense if users didn’t need to navigate away to watch videos. The English version still lacks Non-Japanese members who may find it hard to connect to the Japanese usership (and its taste) and there are hardly any comments or tags in English to be found at this point. This can obviously only be overcome through increased participation of Non-Japanese users.
CEO Kengo Ito says in its current form, Mitter is just covering a snippet of one’s life log. The company’s ultimate goal is to build a “social lifestreaming service” that automatically keeps track of a person’s complete online media consumption behavior. Think FriendFeed for media.
This is a big plan and just yesterday, Mitter broke out of the video geek community by following what you watch on TV (Japanese only for the time being). Music, movies, video games and other media will be added to user feeds in the near future.