Almost live from Grouper, it's your video

Site will streamline process of uploading clips, taking video sharing closer to the realm of live broadcasts.

Taking a step closer to transforming user-generated video sites into live Internet broadcasters, video-sharing site Grouper will let videographers post clips to the Web almost instantaneously after shooting them, CNET News.com has learned.

Starting in August, Logitech will include a link within its Webcam software that will enable consumers to record video directly to Grouper's servers, according to sources close to the deal.

Both companies declined to comment.

Among the more than 200 sites that host user-uploaded video, the race to grab market share is at full throttle. With so many start-ups vying for viewers, competitors are striving to develop new features as they try to distinguish themselves from market leader YouTube.

Grouper will bill this latest offering as a first, telling customers that the Web site is the easiest place online to post videos, sources said.

The offering will work as follows: Every time users of Logitech Webcams click on a link to Grouper's site that's embedded in the camera's software, they will be routed to a page where they can launch the new feature.

A prompt will ask users if they wish to record. Once a person clicks "yes," the video being recorded will be fed directly to Grouper's servers. The user will then be asked whether he or she approves of the video. If the answer is yes, the clip can be posted to Grouper's site with the click of the mouse.

This procedure contrasts with the time-consuming process of uploading video at other video-sharing sites. There, consumers must launch software on their PCs or laptops; record and save the file to their desktops; find the file; and then wait for it to be uploaded.

Logitech, a maker of peripherals including computer mice and headphones, in addition to Webcams, appears to be benefitting from the Internet video craze. In March, a teenage girl stirred interest in Logitech Webcams among YouTube fans after posting a video that featured Logitech's computer-generated special effects.

The video was viewed more than 200,000 times at YouTube, and Amazon.com reported a spike in sales for Logitech Webcams soon after.

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