TV or YouTube? New App Tries to Bridge the Gap
N3twork has lofty goals, but does it have the right content?
Sure, the web is full to bursting with free video content, but how do you find the stuff that's actually worth watching?
The free app is described as the “Pandora of web video,” gathering content from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Funny or Die, the New York Times, and more than 6,500 other sources.
You find everything in the app through hashtags, from generic "channels" like #Sports and #Movies to narrower areas of interest like #Photography and #TED. You can even use less concrete terms like #Amazing and #LOL to find content that strikes a specific nerve.
But N3twork is more than just a recommendation platform. It creates a stream of videos matched to your interests, and its accuracy improves as it learns about your tastes and habits. It also allows you to create channels for your “followers,” and to sync your profile across any iOS device. (It's currently only available on iOS.)
N3twork founder and CEO Neil Young—no, not that Neil Young—believes the app is a solution for the disconnected, unintelligent way the web currently classifies and archives its video content.
“We can do better with video by organizing it not by where it’s from and who made it, but by what it’s about and then bringing videos to you based on what your interests are,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
As far as free video goes, that sounds great. But what about subscription-based services like Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu—by far the largest sources of streaming traffic on the web?
Young told The Verge that N3twork isn't trying to compete with those services. Rather, it's focused on the deep content that sometimes has trouble reaching the surface.
“Our revelation is that there's amazing free video content on the internet and you will never find it, like that 45-minute interview with Rick Rubin or that four-minute landscape video of Japan,” he told the source.
To that end, N3twork probably best serves as a simple time-waster—something to keep yourself busy in the waiting room, rather than entertain you on a Friday night.
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