Showyou, already our favorite iOS application for video discovery, today debuts a fully revamped iPhone app that separates the service from the pack of worthy competitors.
If you haven't used Showyou before, the app in many (but not all) ways is like a Flipboard for videos. Showyou showcases videos shared by members of your social graph (most prominently Facebook, Twitter and users you follow within the app), as well as from a growing list of professional providers ranging from Charlie Rose to The Onion to The Bleacher Report.
Both the iPad version -- which launched in April and received a significant update earlier this year -- and the iPhone app divide discovery into four channels: Popular, Following, Twitter and Facebook.
But if you think the interface and backend algorithms for both apps would be relatively similar, think again.
iPhone app no longer a "second class citizen"
Up until this year, the team behind Showyou has focused exclusively on its iPad application. While this helped earn the company accolades, including an AppStore Rewind shout out from Apple last year, the iPhone app up until now was never anything special.
"It was clear that we really needed to do a proper version of the app," said Mark Hall, CEO of Showyou's parent company Remixation.
Most notably, the back-end technology that showcases apps in each Showyou channel more heavily weights social signals. So rather than seeing the most recent app shared by a Facebook friend or somebody you follow from Twitter front and center, the new algorithm takes into consideration the number of times it has been shared or cited over a period of time, and surfaces the most popular videos to the top. Further, the app neatly displays the network each video is shared from, along with a stream of associated comments.
"We take social activity from all of those heterogeneous sources to show the best 15 or 20 videos at any point of time," Hall said.
And not all of the changes are on the inside. While the iPad app takes advantage of larger screen size to showcase a sprawling but playful interface, the new iPhone app is more top-down in terms of how it surfaces videos. What the iPhone version loses in serendipity it gains in efficiency. In fact, if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, the Showyou iPhone app is arguably a better remote control interface for Apple TV display mirroring than its iPad counterpart. Showyou is also our favorite app to watch on Apple TV via AirPlay Mirroring.
Unlike Flipboard, none of the videos on Showyou are editorially curated.
Other new or reconfigured features in the iPhone app include the ability to share videos with connected Showyou users and iPhone contacts with one tap, as well as a "Thanks" gesture to acknowledge the receipt of a cool video without having to write a pithy comment to show appreciation.
One popular feature shared by iPhone and iPad apps are push notifications. The difference and advantage of the iPhone app here is that users are much more likely to have that device with them, letting them see and view clips shared with them right away and in the moment.
Hall said that his team is working on creating a universal Android application, but the focus currently is on the two iOS apps, as well as a desktop version of Showyou that came out earlier this year. While Showyou is available for the Kindle Fire, Hall acknowledged that the company might de-list that version.
"Kindle is a bit of a misfire of a platform for apps like ours," he said.
Remixation, which is based in San Francisco, has raised at least $2 million to date. The company's lead investor is True Ventures. While the small team is not yet focused on monetization, Hall said he plans to explore advertising as well as commercial models around the delivery of paid content later this year.