I guess it had to happen. These days when you can be online on your mobile phone while you’re supposed to be listening to a class, or at a meeting, when you can send emails and look at websites through your iphone and send images instantly to your friends… well, it’s inevitable that now you can stream your own videos direct from your phone to anyone who wants to view them. You can have your mates there with you as you film what’s going on, simply send it directly to certain sites that they then view. It’s all rather new to me but here are some things I found out when looking into this instant ‘see what I’m doing’ facility.
I started by hitting upon qik.com as that came up as most popular in my search. Here you have two main sections, the Videos and the People. Either way what you do is sign up for the service and then you can send up your videos instantly from your phone and anyone who is online can see them. I checked the videos page and found some that were actually streaming live – plus some that were uploaded 10 seconds ago and so on; so you really can see things as they happen. This doesn’t just have to be for friends and family either. I guess if you’re at some momentous occasion you’ve got access to ‘as it happens’ footage, filmed by you, on your phone, sent to the site and then – and this is really worth thinking about – you’ve got it stored and safe. Let’s hope you never get caught up in a national disaster but if you were, your film could well be on the news as you’d be there before the news crew; the file would be streaming and, more importantly saved. (And we hope that you would also be saved, depending on what disaster you were caught up in.)
But fun things can be broadcast too: the birth of a baby, parties, your graduation, your last day at work, Christmas – let granny see what you are doing by having your movie on line as it happens.
I am actually viewing some videos as I write this. There are small thumbnails on the video page to show you what’s going on – or in some cases it looks like the user has left their phone on ‘record’ and gone to sleep as it was only a black screen, but what can you do? Here’s someone’s view of the snow as I watch them walk to work; someone in the USA is sitting in their car, I can see his knee and the steering wheel… excuse me, why? Someone else is having a much warmer time in a swimming pool in Finland; and here is someone who is obviously bored at work, and I can see why, what a dull office! I get the impression that these people are trying out the system to see exactly how it works.
And I can tell you that it seems to work nice and quickly. The streaming speed is fine, the Flash viewer is a medium size, but if you’re on a supper fast connection you’re going to do much better in terms of buffering. The clips are not very long, at least the ones I watched were not, but it’s up to users as to how much or how little content they send in to qik.com. As a browser you can only view the clips, to comment and fully use the system you’ll need to register and log in. It looks to be free, the site is compatible with over 130 types of phone and you can link it in to your Twitter and Facebook accounts too.
That’s just a quick look at one of the services currently being offered in this new and fast-growing, fun and interactive communication trend. There are plenty of others, simply run a search, find one to suit you and you’ll soon be hooked on what strangers are doing in saunas in Sweden, at the baths in Brussels or at home in Holland.