Facebook has a SnapChat clone called Poke, which hasn’t really taken off.
Vine is also growing fast as a medium of video communication. The videos are super easy to create using multiple scenes (when your thumb is on the screen, it’s recording, when you lift your thumb off, it pauses). Vine’s 7-second limit and asynchronous sharing makes it more appealing. The fact that it automatically creates a looping video enables people to really focus on a short moment of communication.
Instagram recently rolled out an asynchronous video feature for creating and sharing up to 15-second videos that do not loop. Like Instagram photos, the videos can get filters, which help with the boring background problem. You can also edit videos, removing segments of the video that you’d rather not share. These features are also designed in part to help people with their reluctance to communicate by video.
The use of video as a communications medium has an amazing future, and here’s why.
First, it’s only a matter of time before people discover what’s really possible. Let me give you one example.
A plane crash here in Silicon Valley Saturday involving an Asiana Airlines 777 losing its tail during an aborted landing re-ignited the debate about the role of social media “reporting” vs. professional reporting. For a half-hour after the crash, the world was clamoring for any tweets, pictures or videos they could get.
It turns out that Samsung honcho David Eun was on the flight. Eun is in charge of Samsung’s brand-new Open Innovation Center, which is located in Silicon Valley and New York City.
After evacuating, Eun turned around and snapped the most famous picture of the event -- a shot of the plane taken at fairly close range showing fellow passengers evacuating.
At the time of his post, there was no live video feed of the event, and in fact most news media hadn’t started covering it yet.
What’s interesting is that thanks to the video communications revolution in general, and Google+ Hangouts On Air in particular, Eun carried with him the ability to live-broadcast video from the scene, by-passing and superseding the news media.
By calling someone at a desktop computer and asking them to invite him to a Hangout On Air, Eun could have live-streamed video from the scene on his Android phone, which surely would have gone crazy viral, gaining far more live viewers than CNN and all the TV networks combined in a few minutes. He would have had literally millions of people watching live video from his phone, as live Hangouts On Air video can be shared directly on Google+.
But nobody at the crash thought to do this -- not the people in the terminal posting non-live YouTube videos, not traumatized passengers, not emergency crews or passengers on other planes. Yet most of them had this ability. They just didn’t think of it.
Any day now, a massive news event will be streamed live via Hangouts On Air by a random person on the scene, and that ability to route around the news networks will be publicized and established.
For ordinary communication, video is the future. A report released last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project said 40 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 use video-chat applications. In other words, more than a third of young people are growing up and already establishing the video communication habit.
We’re also on the cusp of a revolution for wearable computing. Products like Google Glass and a universe of smartwatches eventually capable of video calls will drive the video communication habit.
Within the enterprise, video communication is on the rise. The most exciting area of innovation in the realm of telepresence robots I told you about recently that enable remote users to inhabit the body of a semi-autonomous robot, attending meetings and touring factory floors from the other side of the world.
The present and future of video communication is actually pretty awesome. Direct video calls are ubiquitous, easy and nearly free. And a world of asynchronous, self-deleting or time-limited options exists to get people past their reluctance to be on camera in a live video call.
George Jetson never had it so good.