Grouper Webcam recorder bypasses your hard drive
I think I've written enough about cell phone-to-Web posting utilities (ShoZu, YouTube Mobile, and ScanR) lately. It's time to cover another way to get video to the Web. This morning video site Grouper is launching a tool that lets you record directly from your PC or Mac Webcam onto the Grouper site. I tried the product yesterday (see my lame video) and found it drop-dead easy to use. Grouper also links directly to Friendster and MySpace (it's yet another company feeding the MySpace beast). After I recorded my video, I had Grouper send it over to my MySpace profile. It took all of five seconds. Nice.
Since there seems to be so much activity in the cellular video market, I asked Grouper CEO Josh Felser why he launched a Webcam upload utility ahead of a cell phone product, especially since he said to me in a previous conversation that Grouper was all about allowing its media to become "untethered." Indeed, Grouper is one of the few video sites that makes it easy to download videos to iPods, PSPs, and desktop PCs.
Josh said that Grouper will soon release a mobile upload utility but that, at the moment, he counts more video-capable PCs than video cell phones. And he believes the potential for community video is untapped. Why should users on a video site be limited to text-based comments, for example? On Grouper now, users can stay in the medium, posting video commentary on videos they watch.
The capability to record directly to the Web, instead of using a PC or Mac as a way station, could also make a big impact on podcasting. In fact, there's already a tool, PodOMatic, that not only lets you record directly to the Web, but also has editing and hosting tools designed for podcasts.
Both of these services (Grouper and PodOMatic) could use better online editing utilities (such as JumpCut), but even at this early stage, they are useful utilities, and they're giving us a pretty clear preview of a future in which there may not be any need for desktop-based media-management software.