If you've ever wanted to run a bunch of video widgets on your desktop, there's a new service for you called uvLayer. It's a tiny Adobe AIR application that lets you search, view, and organize Web video clips on your desktop and share them with others. The videos come courtesy of YouTube and Truveo--the AOL-owned video search tool.
What sets uvLayer appart from basic Web video browsing are its sharing features which are robust. The application lets you cobble together a instant-messanger-like friends list and drag and drop any video you think they would enjoy. If they're using the application, your shared video will simply show up on their desktop like a new e-mail would in your in-box. Likewise, you can simply hop over to see what they're watching if they're online.
For bookmarking addicts, uvLayer also lets you share entire sets full of Web videos via URL. If your recipient has the application installed, their screen will simply fill up with your video picks, complete with your original groupings. You can then syndicate these Webtops to both your uvLayer buddies, and your Facebook friends who will be able to view it right in the Facebook application.
The entire uvLayer experience is very reminiscent of OS X's Dashboard for widgets, as you can flip each item around and get access to some of the metadata like the rating and any user comments. It's very flashy. In fact, if you're running the latest version of OS X, then uvLayer might not be that interesting considering you can rip out nearly any Web video and put it on your Dashboard using Safari's Web clips feature.
I'm not sold on the value of watching videos in a virtual desktop environment. While convenient, I think there's a ton of added value to the community of users where the video's hosted. Admittedly when a video hits the front page of Digg or Fark, the user comments from those sites are usually much more entertaining, but the same can't be said when you're passing it along to a just handful of people.
I've embedded a live version of uvLayer after the break (taken from Ryan Stewart's first look over at his blog on ZDNet). Be sure to check out its stacking feature, which lets you group together several videos at once by drawing a box around them with your mouse.