Mark Hall, the CEO of a company called Remixation, was sitting around with some colleagues last fall, playing with his iPad. In fact, they were all playing with iPads. “We were mildly obsessed,” he recalls. Hall and his colleagues work in the online video space–Remixation made VodPod, a video curation site with almost 10 million monthly unique visitors–and they realized that the iPad, in some ways, was the device that web video lovers had been waiting for. But there was something lacking–no one, they felt, had yet made a mechanism for finding, discovering, and sharing videos on the iPad. There wasn’t an app for that.
The idea behind ShowYou is fairly simple. It’s a social app dedicated entirely to web video. Videos are presented to users (on iPad, but also on iPhone or iPod Touch) in an elegant grid with variously sized thumbnails. The sizing of each video is random, for now–a bigger video doesn’t necessarily mean ShowYou thinks you’re more likely to like it, though ShowYou may tweak that as time goes on. You can swipe to pan through the wall of videos, and click to watch it. The videos aren’t random; they come through people you’re connected with socially, on Twitter or Facebook, for instance, or on ShowYou, which is itself a social network of sorts. ShowYou only supports videos from YouTube and Vimeo for now, with plans to enable other sites’ videos soon.
One ShowYou user can share a video with another; in that case, you can reply to that person, or “re-show” the video–that is, share it to your network, in the manner of a retweet. You can also simply send a private word of thanks for the shared video. “Not everything is this over action where you’re looking for attention,” says Hall. “This is just a one-to-one token of appreciation.”
As you might imagine, all of this is probably best absorbed via, well, a video:
The ShowYou app is also enabled to work seamlessly with Apple TV 2.0, if you have one. So you can fire up your iPad, pan through a wall of shared videos, and with the press of a button, be broadcasting those videos to your TV screen. Hence the feeling of a remote control for web video–the sense that the wilds of YouTube and Vimeo have been tamed to fit in the palm of your hand.
The app is free for now; you can find your way there through ShowYou’s website. Hall bought the URL back in 2006, but when YouTube took off around that time, he dismissed the name as too similar for any Remixation product, and nearly forgot about it. When he and the team were racking their brains for a name for their new app recently, someone piped up and said “Hey, what about ShowYou?” It was so obvious, says Hall with a laugh, “I felt like an idiot.”