I was alerted to Twango by its co-founder, Randy Kerr. Kerr described his site as a “new media sharing service”. Twango though, seperates itself from other media sharing sites like YouTube or Odeo. It doesn’t just handle one type of media — it handles them all.
The site is organized similarly to other “Web 2.0” video sharing sites, like YouTube or Revver. There are tabs along the top where you can select your type of media (they only show audio, video, and photos, however the site also has other types permitted such as Word documents or Flash video). Click into a tab, and you’re given a page of thumbnails – now you can choose a bit of media and enjoy it.
The similarities stop there though. When Twango says it’s for sharing, they really mean it.
Read how, after the infamous jump…
Everything about this site is optimized not just for viewing media, but for passing it along to friends and family. Every page has a “Share” button, where anyone (registered or not) can easily send along their picks to loved ones. Further, each browsing page has a unique desktop-esque feature. Your mouse pointer is transformed into a crosshair, and you’re able to “drag and select”, treating the audio/video/photo thumbnails as if they were desktop icons! These selections can then be added to your favorites. It may seem like a simple feature, but it’s one of the fantastic advances that Web 2.0 has brought us.
As apparently young as the site is, it has already been penetrated by illegal media. A glance through the recently uploaded audio reveals hip-hop music, the video offers clips from late-night television, etc. It’s a problem that will require a speedy solution.
Twango offers video podcasting features too. From what I can tell, the feature is offered through channels. The RSS feeds here do function as podcast feeds in a broad sense, however the enclosures aren’t of videos – they’re of the image thumbnails. Thus, it’s difficult to subscribe to the feed in iTunes, Democracy Player, or your favorite video podcast catcher. It is possible though that I’m missing a feature here or there – the site has so many features that it’s hard to keep track of them all. What is a wonderful feature though is that the site (much like the new Netscape Video has done) is keep the original files. Through the video compression and such, files are transformed to a much smaller, lossy format. Keeping the originals allows viewers to get the original you wanted them to see.
Twango is YouTube, Flickr, and Odeo smashed into one application. It’s a site with an apparently active userbase and a committed developer team. The use of AJAX is sparse but effective, and the organization and design make the site easy from all angles.
While it’s undisputable that YouTube, Flickr, and Odeo hold the crowns in their respective areas, Twango presents a valiant dethroning effort. It needs improvements, particularly in the area of RSS (fixing the issue with enclosures, and simply usiing feeds more on the site), but by supporting more than just one type of media as well as other non-media types such as written documents, the site shows that it is prepared to give the major players a run for their money.