What do you open when you have a few minutes to watch videos? Netflix and Hulu are unsurpassed if you have 30 minutes or more to kill, but if you have less, most of us just open YouTube or, to a lesser extent, Vimeo.
Both of those networks are built around a social element, meaning you can follow users to keep an eye on what videos they upload. That approach can be somewhat limiting, though, in the scope of the videos you’re exposed to.
What if you could tell an app what kind of mood you’re in, and sit back as that app served up a never-ending stream of videos relevant to that mood? The guys at StumbleUpon think they have the answer in 5by.
5by is a web and mobile app that streams relevant videos based on your input. Fire up the app, and it’ll ask you a few questions to determine your tastes.
Once you’ve answered those questions, 5by gives you a list of categories. Do you want to get “blown away?” Take a study break? Are you on the john? (Not kidding- there’s a category for that).
Once you give 5by some context, it’ll give you some subcategories. Some are typically pop-culture or meme-driven (”Wow,” “That’s weird,” and “Babes”) while some are geared towards more thoughtful users. There are some highly interesting videos here, make no mistake- in the “design” category, I was shown a 3D-printed skull sculpture, an ancient Chinese urn and its history in the “history” section, and a Big Think video under “geeking out.” The sports section doesn’t seem to be about sports, per se, but it is interesting: the first video I was served delved into the neurobiological basis of sports. There’s even some stand-up if you want a laugh (Jerry Seinfeld on The Tonight Show, for example).
This is truly a lean-back app: just tell it what you’re in the mood for, and sit back and relax.
5by is a wonderful app to keep in your back pocket, so to speak, for those times when you’re in the mood for some visual stimulation. The videos are quite relevant, entertaining, and (if you’re into that sort of thing), educational. It’s available for mobile and the web, so it works on nearly any device. Hopefully, the folks at StumbleUpon see the recent release of the Chromecast SDK as an opportunity to bring the app to your big screen. All in all, it’s a wonderfully different approach than the current video behemoths take.