Roboto is a robot fighter from the Masters of The Universe series. Oh! That’s from my childhood. This is Robo.to, with a period in between, and a new web service. What’s interesting is that one of the guys behind it with the big bucks is Justin Timberlake, the American pop star and Grammy winner. But leaving aside the celebrity hoo-ha, Robo.to is a unique idea.
Robo.to is a micro-video platform which lets users’ record 4 second video clips expressing their moods, emotions, feelings, condition et.al. Think of it as an emoticon in video mode. But here’s the surprising catch; the free video emoticons don’t have sound. The short video clips go with text status updates. These video clips can be used in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
Is it offbeat?
We have avatars”¦we have animated avatars and then we have these “˜live’ extensions of our own selves. A free video emoticon does a better job than the one-dimensional artificial avatars or even profile photos. And unlike them, videos aren’t static.
Let’s enter and switch on the mood.
- Creating an account is simple and hassle free. An email confirmation completes the registration process.
- Entering your account takes you to the Get Started page where you simply have to record your first free video emoticon. Allow the inline Flash player access to your webcam and with a press of the record button you are recording your first heart to heart thoughts.
- The next step is about putting a few words about your state of being. Feeling happy”¦say so, in the little text box. Feeling crappy”¦why not say that too, after all your visual expression is probably giving you away. A little indicator lets you know what’s a good length for the message. In this case, a picture doesn’t say a thousand words. It’s the words that go with the picture.
- To add the social media where you would like your video to update your friends, head southwards for the selection of the modules. As soon as you select one or more, the respective login box opens up, asking for your credentials. With the social links established, you can publish your video updates.
- Just like any other social network, you can add your friends and follow their updates. Added friends go into your crowd which is like your network of friends. You can check into all status videos from the Statusphere section on top.
- For those with their own blogs or websites, Robo.to provides a link and also embeddable code. This allows any reader to follow your status updates as soon as you make them.
Is that all?
If you don’t look carefully, you just might miss the link to the TV Mode on the upper right corner. It’s a gallery of those entire 4 second user created clips for public consumption.
The micro-videos are arranged around Topics, searchable by keywords or usernames. Viewers can rate the videos, reply to them and add them to their crowd. I clicked through quite a few and it’s fun watching some of the expressions condensed into 4 second dumb charades.
Will it catch on?
With a beta, it is early days. But one day who would have thought that a web app which forces you to write your thoughts in 140 words would ever become a rage. Twitter did and most of us are on it. Brief and skimpy seems to be in. For an app that calls itself a massively small product, that could be the USP. Mashable says the site has seen 350,000 site visitors and 1.5 million Robo.to views in all. That sounds like a calling card to potential success.
Try it and let us know. Maybe, in a 4 second clip?