Vuvox mashes up media with style, lives up to hype

Vuvox grabs your media in two places. The first is from Web services such as YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and Google. The other place is your hard drive.

Vuvox was one of the few services that wasn't quite ready for the public after showing off its wares at Demo 2007. Like Flektor, Good Widgets, RockYou, Slide, Mixercast, and other mashup services, Vuvox lets users pull in media content from the Web or a hard drive, and put that content together using a Web-based editor. The end result is something that's visually engaging and can be shared via e-mail, or embedded on blogs, Web sites, and social networking profiles. The service is officially opening its doors to everyone as of today.

Vuvox grabs your media in two places. The first is from Web services such as YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and Google. The other place is your hard drive. You can upload files one at a time, or in batches after installing Vuvox's small browser plug-in. Once you've added your media, it's a simple drag-and-drop process. You can reorder, combine, or delete pictures or video in a simple queue. When you're done creating, you can apply one of Vuvox's 11 different themes. Each is unique, and has various visual styles that enhance, or in some cases stylize, your media. You can also use some advanced editing tools, like a cropper and layer mask, to tweak your shots.

Once published, each user gets their own channel. Other users can come by and comment on slide shows, and then share the slide shows with others either by e-mail, embedded link, or a URL. The service also has a featured section, showing off some of the more popular, or notable, works by users.

Like most services these days, Vuvox also has a Facebook application. Similar to the full version of the site, you can grab content from Flickr and Picasa. Since it's Facebook, you're also able to pick photos from your Facebook albums. When finished, you have the option to share the content with friends, and post it to your profile. The only downside here is that the Vuvox editor has been tweaked slightly, both in size and features, to accommodate the Facebook crowd. The results look just as good, but the editing experience isn't nearly as enjoyable.

Is Vuvox worth using over the competition? It's pretty impressive for a new service, and quite polished. The one snag is that it can be a little slow, and you don't have a lot of control over the way some of the themes play with the presentation of your shots. If you're looking for a similar media mashup tool that offers stylization but also a little more user control, check out SplashCast (also a Demo 2007 launch) and Flektor (review).

Adding your photos from Flickr or other Web services is very simple with Vuvox. Just drag them over to the storyboard on the right. CNET Networks

For more screen shots of the interface and an example of the embedded application, click the Read More link below.

Vuvox's Facebook editor in action. It's not quite up to snuff with the full version, but it works pretty well. CNET Networks

The Vuvox player, as seen on a Facebook profile. CNET Networks

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