Squrl gathers content for your video-viewing pleasure

An app formerly for iPad only is now available on the iPhone, giving video lovers a place to organize and watch their favorite videos.

Do you watch a lot of Internet video? With so much out there to consume, from hot music videos and "SNL" skits to arty Vimeo clips and sports highlights, it's impossible to see everything. But an app that's new to iPhone helps you discover new videos by organizing them into channels you can browse by category, popularity, and Web site.

Squrl Video Discovery
Browse through video categories to bring up tons of sources for your preferred channels. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Squrl Video Discovery, (free) was formerly for iPad only, but now brings the app's wealth of video discovery tools to the iPhone. You can get started by browsing through popular or "Fresh" (new) videos to see the type of content you can watch. But to really get the full experience of Squrl, you should connect with social networks like Facebook and Twitter so you can watch videos posted by your friends and share your favorites with them.

Squrl offers content from several well-known video sites and networks including Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, CollegeHumor, CNN, ESPN, and many more. To manage all these content sources, you can hit a menu button in the upper left to bring up your profile page. You'll be able to view video activity from your friends, look at your video queue, check messages from friends, and search for videos. But at the bottom of this page is an Add Channel button, which brings up several categories you can choose from, each with tons of video sources for your specific interests. Once you start drilling down into each category and see the number of sources, you'll understand just how much video you have access to with Squrl.

Squrl Video Discovery
By touching and holding the upper left video, I was able to bring up controls for sharing, liking, and more. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

One useful new feature in Squrl's iPhone app is the capability to bring up controls while browsing through video listings. When viewing a list of videos from a favorite category, you can touch and hold on the video thumbnail to bring up tools for sharing, liking, adding to queue, and getting more information about the video. It's a minor interface feature, but makes for an elegant way to access the controls without a lot of digging through menus.

In my testing I noticed a minor, but irritating bug. Sometimes when viewing a video the playback controls would not go away no matter what I did. Usually you only need to touch the screen, but a touch would only make the controls disappear for a second, then come right back. Reloading the video seems to cure this issue, but it's probably something the developers will patch in an upcoming update.

Overall, Squrl Video Discovery is a great app for fans of Internet video with tools that let you customize what you want to watch, a queue for saving videos for later, and social connectivity so you can share with friends. If you're a big fan of Internet video, Squrl is a great option.

 

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