The makers of Boxee HTPC software--along with the Boxee Box--have released Cloudee, an iOS video sharing app that joins an increasingly crowded marketplace of social video apps. Ever since the massive success of Instagram, technology writers and backseat venture capitalists have wondered what app will be the logical follow up--the Instagram equivalent for video. It's not a very apt comparison, as the success of Instagram is tied to more than just its design and social sharing platform; Instagram works because photographs (and images) by nature are easy to download, browse, digest, and rate. That isn't so much the case with video, as the developers of SocialCam and Viddy could probably attest.
So what does Boxee's Cloudee do differently? Its ties to Boxee gives the service a clear endgame: using your videos to populate the Boxee content platform and give users a reason to choose Boxee as the primary interface for the "second screen", aka your living room TV. And while Boxee's blog post announcing Cloudee never says it explicitly, it's also clearly a play for the kind of success Dropbox and other cloud storage services have had with files, except for video.
Here's where I think Cloudee has a real chance for success: not as the Instagram for video, but as the PhotoStream for video. If Cloudee can give me an easy way to back up all the gigabyte-occupying 1080p videos on my phone to an easy-to-access service, I'll have to worry less about storage management and will actually take more videos as a result. Like photos, video too often stays dormant on the device I shot it with, whether it's a smartphone or digital camera. PhotoStream is great is because it puts those videos in a shared place--and propagated to many devices--where I can easily access them at any time for editing or sharing. Video--increasingly being shot on phones--needs to be liberated in the same way, and without the forced emphasis on sharing. I just want a repository for all my silly cat videos without putting them on YouTube of Facebook. Hopefully Cloudee can make that happen.
Cloudee is available now to download on iOS, but access to the service is still limited to invited friends and family for now.