Saturday, September 30, 2006

Day Twelve - Whatcha' lookin' at?

While we are looking at web-based visual sharing communities, I want to look at three very similar communities as our last stops. These communities are OurMedia, YouTube and Google Video. Ourmedia (web site) boasts 115,000 members. Of the three, it houses the widest variety of multimedia, including photos, audio and video. It's also worth noting that OurMedia is a subsidiary of the Internet Archive (the complex effort to index all the internet since 1996). The bulk of the media on OurMedia is Creative Commons material, meaning that virtually anyone can use the materials with proper notation.

YouTube (web site) is similar to Ourmedia but is smaller. However, we are talking about small in relative terms. The community that supports YouTube currently uploads about 65,000 videos per day. Thats a lot of members. YouTube's videos encourage interactivity among members by forum like comment areas linked to each video. With it's Video target, many of the comments on individual videos are videos as well. YouTube also allows for a lightweight tagging system, but not near so well organized as Flickr.

And finally, the guys and gals of the Googleplex, give us Google Videos. Google Videos probably have the most progressive effort to make video accessible to any OS, thought they are also most criticised for the quality of their videos. Although it sounds like everything here is video (and it is) amazingly a number of musicians have begun to use Google Video to get their music videos out on the net. Google Video also has close ties to the commercial television industry (several of the major players have put entire episodes of commercial TV on Google Video).

Looking at these communities individually, one can ascertain a number of minor differences. But for our purpose what is more important is the underlying structure. One of the first things to note, is that all three of these communities have massive server support, with YouTube being the smallest. Google, with it's huge net indexing and search facilities and OurMedia with its Wayback and Internet Archive facilities would seem to be able to host more videos on their servers, but in actuallity, there is little difference between all three in terms of servers space. Another thing that I think makes these communities very important in the learning community sense is that they are while there is an ever greater need for broadband to play the videos, they all seem to be gravitating toward formats that leave even smaller footprints on our computers, meaning they load quickly and are easily viewed. Google and YouTube both exclusively use Flash technology, with Google tinkering with several other possible extensions to make for faster and better quality video. OurMedia also heavily reliant on Flash but more likely to use some other types of files. Finally, all of them are right out at the leading edge of Web 2.0 technology. When you think about how long they have been around and how astoundingly successful they have been, and how easy it is for the educational community to embrace this technology, it's easy to see why these communities are just the first wave of many more come.

Finally, what is not said may be the most important thing about these commuities. They are all set to be put on hand-held and ipod type devices. Not only can you carry your TV with you, you will have an amazing choice of videos to look at. And with the indexing ability inherant to these behemoth servers, you should be able to look through videos like you look through books and periodicals in the library.

Anyway, I thought these would be a good final stop and would give us plenty to think about in the near future as we all explore more learning communities on our own. I am pulling the convertible off the internet highway now, and I'm going to check into the nearest cyber-motel. My eyes are bleary and my head is exploding from information overload. I need some rest. What about you ....?

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