Hands On With #waywire, Cory Booker’s Video Service That Turns You Into A Newscaster


Don’t let big media decide what’s important. #waywire enters private alpha today to let you collect, curate, and share video news from across the Internet. Clips from top-tier broadcasters, citizen journalists, and original web content creators can be cobbled together to let you share your perspective on what’s happening in the world.

Created in part by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and backed by all-star investors like Eric Schmidt and Oprah, #waywire lets you become the director a personalized CNN or BBC for you and your friends. We got early access this weekend, so here’s the bulletin on how #waywire works.

You can sign up for #waywire with just an email address, but then can connect your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn to “wire” out the videos you choose. The homepage of #waywire is a Pinterest-style board of personalized video suggestion, which rests below a carousel of editorially curated top picks. From here, users can browse an eclectic set of topics, from The Olympics to world news.

Users tag, comment and share their favorite clips to their #waywire subscribers or broadcast to their social networks by clicking a conspicuous “w” at the bottom of each video. #waywire’s suggestion algorithm pulls in videos from various sites that have strong traffic from the 18-29 demographic, and the small #waywire team scours the Internet for trending videos that appeal to what they see as the tastes of Generation Y.

We had a solid first impression with the service: our feed had a healthy mix of Olympic clips and world news, including gems like Mitt Romney accidentally introducing Paul Ryan as the “next President.”

#waywire’s topic search is impressive. For instance, education-related videos can be a tricky subject to search for. Typing “education” in YouTube turns up a mess of suggestions on “Ninja Warrior” training and blackhead removal. #waywire, however, suggested a mix of informative videos, from Ken Robinson’s famous TED talk on how schools kill creativity, to investor Peter Thiel’s thoughts on the higher education bubble higher education bubble (comedian Louis C.K’s rant about 20-year-olds was a pleasant bonus, too).

The nice thing about #waywire is that unlike the transient vertical feeds of Twitter and Facebook, a user’s channel can be a permanent showcase for what they think are the best education videos. Great clips don’t necessarily fall off the bottom of your profile as you post more.

Perhaps the most disruptive feature of #waywire is its raw database of original footage from 60 content partners, including Reuters, the world’s largest multimedia news agency.

In the near future, users will be able to cut original clips on breaking world news, giving them the editorial power once reserved to broadcast producers walled-off in a darkroom with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Web-savvy users could splice together the best professional footage with eye-witness citizen accounts posted on YouTube, disrupting the major broadcasters’ monopoly on video news. #waywire also plans to let users shoot and edit their own video responses to content they find around the web.

While #waywire aims to be the next major social platform, it’s designed for a symbiotic relationship with Twitter, Facebook and, especially, YouTube. The team estimates that half of the traffic will come from users going directly to the site, and the rest will come through other social networks. Partly, the direct traffic will come from #waywire’s “light” production of original programs (including this heartwarming Tweet Tap episode for TechCrunch). Monetization could come through targeted ads relating to the videos users watch around the site. Right now, though, the #waywire needs to win mindshare and deliver on its mission to help young adults inform each other.

By combining user participation with professional presentation, #waywire is perhaps the closest of any digital platform to replacing TV news.

For more on #waywire, attend or watch the livestream of TechCrunch Disrupt SF where Cory Booker will be speaking.

More TechCrunch

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.