New Apps Let You Tag Your Friends In YouTube Videos [Interview]

Social video sharing app BlipSnips is improving the online video experience by providing users with Facebook and iPhone apps for capturing and captioning specific time codes and tagging friends in YouTube videos.

Social video sharing app BlipSnips is improving the online video experience by providing users with a tool for capturing and captioning specific time codes and tagging friends in YouTube videos. I had the opportunity to ask BlipSnips’ community manager, James Ryan Moreau, a few questions about the company’s Facebook and iPhone apps. Read on to find out more about BlipSnips and to find out what James had to say.

Before I get to my interview with James, lets take a look at how BlipSnips works. Currently the BlipSnips app can be used in a couple different places – on the BlipSnips website and via their Facebook app. An iPhone app is also in the works, which James tells me, “will allow you to capture video on your iPhone, capture moments in time, tag people in them on Facebook and upload the video directly to Facebook.”

On the BlipSnips website you can copy-paste a YouTube URL to “BlipSnip it”. As you play through the video you can click at certain moments in time to add annotated tags, making it easy for users to skip ahead. When a viewer watches your BlipSnip they can easily click on the timecodes you have tagged to skip ahead to certain points in the video. Click on the screenshot below to watch a video that I BlipSnipped and see how it works.

The Facebook application adds additional functionality to improve the video sharing process. On Facebook, BlipSnips lets you tag friends in the video at specific time codes. You can tag friends who are actually in the video so they can skip through to see the exact points where they appear, or you can tag a friend in a specific part of a video that you’d like them to see. I tagged myself in a video using the BlipSnips app and it appeared on my wall (as in the image below). When I click on the link from my profile, the video starts playing at the exact moment where I was tagged.

I think BlipSnips is a really cool app, and I can’t wait to see how the iPhone app will do. Being able to tag specific moments in videos with captions and friends makes video sharing so much better. Lets say you want to share a 30-second clip from a 10-minute video. Rather than having to explain to your viewer that they don’t have to watch it all and should “Skip to 4:07 to see the best part” you can simply add a tag directly on the video player.

But enough of my blabber. Let’s find out what BlipSnips community manager James Ryan Moreau had to say about the product. Read my interview with James below, and be sure to let us know what you think of BlipSnips in the comments!

Megan: Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind BlipSnips?

James: BlipSnips came to life like any other great product: by solving an obvious and yet overlooked problem. The genesis of the idea came when John Bliss, CEO, had received an email from a friend containing two things: 1) A sentence saying “Hey John, check out this video! You look great!” and 2) a YouTube link. When he clicked the link, he landed on a video of a bike race…a race he was in…along with roughly 1000 of his “friends” and 45 minutes of footage. Needless to say, he never found himself after seeking through the video for roughly an hour. The whole experience was a failure. His friend took the time to send a message and failed at trying to communicate something he thought John would be interested in. John was let down because he actually did well in that race! And thus the idea was born to solve the problem of simply taking your friends to specific moments in video found on the internet you find interesting and making it all super easy to do.

Megan: How long has BlipSnips been around and how has it grown? Can you share any statistics about the growth of your user base over time and the response to your product?

James: BlipSnips has been existence since the fall of 2009. By the spring the co-founders John Bliss and Greg Keller were accepted into the VCIR (venture Capital in the Rockies) conference and by summer had been accepted into the TechStars/Boulder program. Momentum has been high since exiting TechStars in many areas such as company growth (from 2 to 4 full time employees), product development and user adoption. We are seeing about a 22% month/month growth with a user base and BlipSnipped video archive both measuring in the thousands. This has all been done with no marketing… completely done by word of mouth.

Megan: What are your future plans for BlipSnips?

James: Simply put, our future is to become synonymous with having been the company that made video truly social. And when we say that..not by simply adding sharing tools or propping up a video hosting/viewing site….but by intermingling your social networks within the videos you and your friends enjoy…and often create! We chose Facebook and a mobile platform like iPhone as a logical place to start as this is where video is exploding. It’s exploding because both Facebook and iPhone have made it fairly easy to either generate video content, or upload video content. But, as users of both those platforms, we wanted to enhance a user’s experience (OUR experience!) by defining and sharing key moments in video and of course indicating exactly where our friends show up in those key moments of video. Leveraging Facebook’s advanced social graph to syndicate the message of being tagged at key moments was an obvious enhancement we felt (as Facebook users) that should be available to anyone, and thus our focus on it. Our future though, includes lots of interesting ways to combine social aspects within key moments of video across a myriad of different platforms (both mobile and traditionally web-based). Stay tuned!