Photography junkies have lurked around community sites like Flickr for years, but amateur video fans were always left to fend for themselves. Digital video is bandwidth-hungry -- few community sites have been keen to die the swift death that inevitably comes as an under-funded video site gains popularity. But wheel away the guillotine, things may be about to change. We've been taking a look at a new video-sharing website, YouTube, which showcases video content from crazies across the world in an accessible format.
YouTube uses a similar interface to the immensely popular photoblogging tool, Flickr. And it follows in the vein of other video-sharing sites like Putfile, Vidiac and Rocketboom. Unlike some of its contemporaries, YouTube is as flexible in its remit as Flikr -- there's no strict critera for entering your video and it's shaping up to become a massive storage vault of home-grown video content.
As photoblogging makes its lumbering transition into the mainstream, it may be personal newsgathering that attracts the largest audiences for new sites. Already YouTube hosts bystander video from the crash of Air France 358 in Toronto. As we become increasingly tooled up with the latest video gadgets, the demand for a forum to distribute our videos should explode -- YouTube may be the first of many similar sites to fight it out over the next year. We haven't been able to track down whether Chad Hurley, the company's founder, has the acumen or funding to make this a real business: if you're out there, Chad, we'd love to hear from you. But in the meantime, get your camera-phones ready! -CS