Friday, 2 April 2010

Something is wrong with video on the web

I think there's something wrong with video on the web. Not the fact that we need plugins, or that the attempted standards to get around that are now embroiled in a format war. I think what is fundamentally wrong with video on the web is that you can't deep-link into it, nor can you quote a part of it. With web pages and text, we have well-established tools, methods and standards for either copying and displaying a subsection of some text or posting a link that goes right to the relevant section of a page. It's easy, it's standard and everyone knows how to do it, or can find out really quickly. When someone takes special steps to break that functionality, we ridicule them for it.

Video is the opposite situation at the moment. Quoting part of a web video - embedding just the 2 minutes out of 60 that appealed to you, for instance - is practically impossible. You'd have to download it, edit it, re-upload it and link to that, assuming you could get permission. Deep-linking is unheard of. Instead we quote timestamps. There is no standard way of displaying it. Not even YouTube can claim that. I think it's astonishing that video has come as far as this without solving these problems.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The web is made of links, above all else.
PPS - So I don't think it's unreasonable to expect this.

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