A terrific Slate piece by Paul Boutin about the factors contributing to YouTube’s success: it’s easy to use, and it doesn’t “tell you what to do.” Snip:
The guys behind YouTube hit the sweet spot. Most important, they made it head-slappingly easy to publish and play video clips by handling the tricky parts automatically. Given up on BitTorrent because it feels like launching a mission to Mars? If you’ve sent an e-mail attachment, you’ve got the tech skills to publish on YouTube.
To post your own video, sign up for a free account and go to the Upload page. Select your file, click the Upload Video button, and you’re done! YouTube’s servers convert your vid to a standardized format, but you don’t need to know what that format is. If you send the URL to your aunt, it’ll play in her browser without spraying the screen with pop-ups and errors.
You don’t have to upload video to use YouTube. If you just like to watch, it’s even easier. There’s no software to install, no settings to muck with. The video auto-plays as soon as you load the page, without launching more windows—why can’t CNN do that?
Three months ago, I predicted Google Video would become the hottest thing on the Net. I was wrong, and I think Google has failed to take off for the simple reason that it’s more annoying to use than YouTube. To begin with, you have to install Google’s special uploading application. When I tried to upload the same clips I’d posted to YouTube, Google’s app wouldn’t let me. I combed through the FAQ and found this: “While we also support other digital formats such as QuickTime, Windows Media, and RealVideo … submitting your files in these formats may significantly delay us from using them on Google Video.” Come on, guys. Whatever happened to “I’m Feeling Lucky?”
Don’t miss the lip-sync clip he links to. And Sam Anderson has a separate piece on Slate that takes a kiddingly serious look at the lip-sync genre.
(Via Boing Boing)