Facebook introduced a new video section of their site recently (found at http://www.facebook.com/video/). As with all things Facebook, the section contains an extremely simple interface — a little too simple (more on that later). The whole thing smells like it was rushed. Overall, the Facebook Video section brings a few positive things to the table, and just plain sucks overall.
When you hit the site, it asks you to add the application to your profile. As with all new features, this is an “application.” After you add it, you are able to view videos. Immediately, a few things stand out:
- Videos can be tagged with your friends, and you can search for videos tagged of you.
- Video browsing emphasizes friends. Videos by strangers are nowhere to be found. Odd.
- There is no video search (perhaps it will be part of the main search later)
- Videos can be browsed by “latest”, “of you” and “tagged by friends.” That’s it. No other sort or filter options are available.
Once the application is installed, you are able to upload videos. Some (of the only good) highlights emerge:
- Videos can be uploaded from your phone (cool!)
- Videos can be directly recorded from the site (see picture below)
- Video max length: 10 minutes.
That’s about the only good things I have to say about Facebook Videos. The video player has a few standard Facebook features such as its own wall, a list of people who are tagged in the video, its length, and a pause button. But this is where it got ugly. Where do I begin? Study the screen shot below.
- Their player is missing volume controls!
- Where is the mute!! (I need to mention volume twice because that’s just stupid)
- There is no embed link (not going viral, I see)
- No full screen mode
- No rating system
- No favorites or book marking
- No view counts
- No tags or categories
- No related videos (this is stupid)
I waited until the end of the video to see if I was presented with related videos. Instead, I got this:
When I clicked on Next Video, it took me to the next video made by that author. Complete rubbish! Worse, when you play all of an author’s videos, you only get a Play Again button! This is worse than YouTube’s first iteration.
The problem here is that Facebook is treating videos like photos. But videos are different from photos in that they require a greater investment of time, creating a desire to only view the “good stuff.” The lack of tags, categories, ratings, and favorites means browsing for quality videos becomes next to impossible; in fact, it is likely that quality gets drowned out in crappy-video noise.
Facebook Video sucks. Facebook is definitely catering to the home-made audience with its video site by integrating people-tagging, but its misunderstanding of what makes a good video site will be Facebook Video’s downfall. While they have undoubtedly made uploading a straight forward process, browsing videos is an unenjoyable and often painful experience.
I think this is all part of an elaborate (and stupidly executed) plan to get a higher bid offer from Yahoo. In fact, the pair were back in the headlines after rumors broke of buyout talks being renewed. A successful entry into the video market might push Facebook to a $2 billion price (that’s how much they want), since YouTube went for $1.6 billion. But with garbage like this, gaining market share is complete fiction.
Without serious enhancements – and soon – this video site will languish in obscurity as people realize it’s a piece of garbage. Just doing the research to write this article made me want to tear my eyes out and mute the speakers.