Yesterday we discussed how photo sharing apps have gotten all tricked out to compete with the now-Facebook-owned Instagram, but the real, next big thing in apps is video sharing. Instagram already won the photo war. The masses have moved on. The next It app won't be an Instagram knock-off, but rather something more animated. "As Instagram has done, these services are swiftly drawing millions of users, as well as big money from top venture capital firms, film stars and angel investors such as Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs," write The Wall Street Journal's Jessica Vascellaro and Spencer Ante, who detail this new trend.
Like all social media things, getting on the right platform counts. If a person sends an Instagram and nobody is there to view it, it's as if the photo was never shared at all. Popularity matters. At this early stage, in which these apps have yet to prove they can make money, it's hard to say which of these apps will pull ahead. Remember Hipstamatic, the also popular photo sharing app that adds artsy and hip filters to smartphone photos? That seemed as promising as any and still gets high rating in the Apple app store. But Facebook didn't buy Hipstamatic, did it? We've located some of the most promising apps, which have Instagram popularity potential.
How It Works: This app feels very Instagram-y, as its features make videos look better and more professional with easy to add-on production packs, which give videos a "cinematic look." Like instagram, after taking a video from ones smartphone, the app allows users to tweak it, adding a cool veneer to the footage, before sending out to the rest of Viddy's community as well as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram Potential: Very High. The app, which gets 4 stars in the Apple app store, has attracted over 26 million users, adding about 1 million users a day. As of May 1, post-Facebook buy and post-Android Instagram had 50 million users. It had 27 million as of March 11, 2012. Plus, it doesn't hurt that The New York Times made the comparison between the two apps, which Viddy's app description displays among its accolades. "If you’ve seen what Instagram has done for phone-shot photos, you can imagine that Viddy may soon do the same for videos," wrote the Times.
How it Works: This app has both photo and video capabilities. It has all that filter stuff Instagram offers, but also allows for organization of these moments over channels with different social circles or topics, like fashion or concerts. It also allows users to comment back with photos or videos. Instagram only allows for heart shaped likes or word-based comments.
Instagram Potential: Pretty High. The techies loved this app. TechCrunch called it the breakout photo sharing app of the year, a title Instagram obviously won. Gizmodo said it was even better than Instagram at what Instagram does. The people who use it spend a lot of time on it, too, about 33 minutes a day, notes TechCrunch's Roi Carthy. But, it doesn't quite have the hip feel to it that Instagram does. The promotional video has cheesy music and cheesy actors. And, the app, even though it outsmarted Instagram, did not win at the photo game, so why would it dominate in video?
How It Works: This app really emphasizes the discovery aspect of "Klip" sharing. Users can share short videos with just their friends or find other "Klippers" around the world to follow and re-Klip, which works like a re-blog on Tumblr. All the sharing is built around hashtags, which makes finding things (theoretically) easier. On the other end of the sharing spectrum, it also allows for private sharing in Google+ like circles.
Instagram Potential: Medium-High. With all that Internet friendly lingo and ideas -- it seems to borrow from every single popular social network -- this one could be the one. The Next Web liked it, saying it blew them away. And, it reached top app status in 15 countries.
How It Works: This one is a pretty straight forward version of a video sharing app. A user takes a video, uploads it to a server and shares it with the rest of the SocialCam community. It works well and users say it's polished, as it came from Justin.tv, the popular video sharing website. The app also allows for tagging, something other photo and video sharing apps don't have.
Instagram Potential: Medium. This guy feels a bit too boring to win over the masses. It doesn't have that hip veneer, or any other gimmick, to lure away users of other apps. Its one shining feature, however, is that it works well, which for video is more of a deal than photos, which just upload. Also a Forbes writer got really mad at it for having the following disclaimer in its terms of services. “This app may post on your behalf, including videos you watched, videos you shared and more.” That does seem a bit invasive.
How It Works: Check out Adam Clark Estes' writeup for a more comprehensive run-down of the app, which includes photo sharing features. But in the video department, the app just reworked itself to include some nifty features. Users can now shoot and stream live video for up to 30 seconds. And they can also share individual stills of those videos.
Instagram Potential: Medium Low. At this point, this feels like the app that will never be. This is the third time the app has reworked its entire being.
But the way video works, none of these apps could be the next darling of social media. Video's a much harder medium to sell and use than photo, as The Journal explains. These apps aren't exaclty add friend. And users might not get as addicted, as they take longer to produce and consume. "[Video] does not have that zero friction adoption" Bruce Dunlevie, a general partner at venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, which backed Instagram, told Vascellaro and Ante. "It is a bigger, more gnarly technical problem."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.