December 17, 2008

Gawkk Delivers Video Discovery Engine With a Social Center

It doesn't take a scholar to recognize the commentary around most YouTube videos appeals to the lowest common denominator. As is common with many Web services that have gained mass popularity, the discussion on YouTube more closely resembles a junior high locker room than an exchange between friends and family. At times, the nonsense spewed underneath the most popular videos is practically enough to make a person avoid the site altogether.

In contrast to the banal free-for-all at YouTube, where the inmates are in control of the asylum, we have seen the rise of more personal, friend-centric services to exchange links, images and video through social media in the last few years, including sites like FriendFeed, Twitter, Ballhype and Socialmedian. A new name to be included as part of that conversation is Gawkk, a social video discovery and sharing site, which pulls in the most popular videos across the Web from services including YouTube, Hulu, and others, and sets up a platform to see what videos your friends have shared or commented on.

A Gawkk Video from Hulu, With My Comment

The service, created by former Direct Hit co-founder, Gary Culliss, lets you subscribe to channels as diverse as CNN and the History Channel to The Simpsons Channel, Law & Order, and even Budweiser Commercials. You can also browse the site's many different categories, see the most popular videos of the day, or simply follow the channels your friends have subscribed to.

Some Popular Videos Found on Gawkk, via MSNBC and Hulu

As a Gawkk member, you create your own personal channel, and can add videos to your channel by hitting "Save" underneath any video. You also can create an activity stream by voting videos up or down (like with Digg) or through your comments.

For example, my channel can be found here: and my activity feed can be found here:

My Gawkk Activity Stream

Unlike YouTube and Hulu, Gawkk does not actually store the video media on its site. Instead, it acts as way for users to share video they have found from anywhere on the Web and share it on the site (using a bookmarklet, found here). Videos are brought to Gawkk both by users themselves, or imported from the many external sites, which are then organized into thousands of public channels, chronologically, by topic, from TV shows to actors. As a member, you can subscribe to any number of channels, and even have the option, at signup, to rate each channel from one to five stars to signal your interest, and also indicate what other channels you might like.

Rating Each Gawkk Channel, Choosing to Subscribe

My Gawkk Channel Subscriptions

Videos that receive the most "up" votes are promoted to the home page for the entire community to see, just like the most popular items on Digg, Ballhype, Reddit and other social voting sites. The hope is that by breaking out of the muck that is YouTube, you can enjoy sharing video with friends and finding common interests.

You can find me on Gawkk with the ID of louisgray (as with most other services). And if you want more friends than just me, find who else is already on Gawkk by checking your online mail address book.