Instagram, acquired by Facebook in 2011, held a press conference today to announce its new video app. Instagram video is much like Tout in that it offers 15 second video times, whereas Vine is limited to six seconds. Vidoco, the video app company where this blogger sits on its advisory board, has a range of video time choices from 15 seconds to one minute. Can instagram become the preferred video system and wipe out the other apps?
The answer here is a firm no, but.
The “but” is in the fact that, as of this writing, users are complaining of upload problems. Take CNET writer Jennifer Van Grove, who issued this Twitter tweet complaining that her 15 second video that would take seconds to upload on Vidoco or Tout is, well, “processing” and that was 21 minutes ago, as of this writing:
my first Instagram video has been "processing" for minutes. what gives?
— Jenn Van Grove (@jbruin) June 20, 2013
Meanwhile, three others on Twitter responded to her tweet, reporting the same problem:
@jbruin Same here, I think the rush is overloading the servers…
— Adam Covati ❖ (@covati) June 20, 2013
@jbruin same here.
— Drew Dahlman (@meusPartum) June 20, 2013
@jbruin iOS 7? Mine stuck too but I’m on iOS 7 so expect issues.
— ohjoey (@ohjoey) June 20, 2013
If the upload problem is related to Instagram’s server configuration, then it has to go back to the drawing board. That problem hasn’t plagued Tout or Vidoco; the most I’ve waited for a video to process was 10 minutes for either app, and that happened just twice. I’ve uploaded over 3,600 videos on Tout, alone, and over 160 on the brand new Vidoco app.
If Instagram can overcome this deal-killer problem, it will be formidable. First, it’s easy, as the Instagram folks will tell you: “When you go to take a photo on Instagram, you’ll now see a movie camera icon. Tap it to enter video mode, where you can take up to fifteen seconds of video through the Instagram camera.”
Second, what I like is the Instagram-style social-network interface that allows immediate feedback on video content. What so many video app designers fail to realize is they need to have their own social networking home for their video users. I have found that human nature is to want to have a social-network-style page that’s associated with the content a specific app produces. Such a device also facilitates user population growth.
Just ask new Instagram Video user Tony Hawk. If you just press on the photo, you’re taken right to his video. Kobe Bryant’s on it too.
But right now, this space has to report that the Instagram video upload delay is a release disaster. Time is the element of success in the video app World, because a user wants to immediately show and share – if the damn videos uploading 10 minutes or more later, you can do neither. And with something like 18 other offerings out there, many will go back to whatever else they were using and forget about Facebook’s Instagram video until, and this an “if” right now, the problem’s solved and use volume reaches social media recognition level.
“Social Media Recognition Level” is my term for noticing an app because you saw its contents on another social network. Like seeing a video on Facebook or Twitter or a blog. That’s why Vine, even though it has no business growing, is doing so.
Frankly speaking the Vine app is fucking stupid, and were it not for the use of Twitter as a distribution point for its content, Vine would be a failure. An app like Tout or Vidoco would kill Vine if Twitter gave both Vine’s level of access, and Twitter knows this. At the end of the day, people want rich video content, not flash images moving again and again in the annoying, fist-pounding fashion Vine presents.
As you can tell, I’m not a Vine fan.
But the real key here is in where the distribution point is, and how big it is. If you want to compete against Vine, you need a large, exclusive social network, and that’s what Instagram video has in Facebook – whenever the damn videos upload.
Have to say, the definitive video app has not been developed. Yet.