Friday, December 01, 2006

YouTube on your cellphone?

Missed last night’s episode of Conan O’Brian? Care to watch the Michael Richards incident at a comedy club? Want to relive those old episodes of Boy Meets World? If your life is frantic and you don’t have time to watch those videos on your computer via YouTube, you can now watch them on your cellphone.

Verizon Wireless struck a deal with YouTube making their consumers eligible to watch YouTube videos on their phones or upload videos directly to the website. The service will be launched December and will cost $15 a month. YouTube will be a feature through the Verizon’s V Cast service. It will be easy to navigate through the site, just as if you were on a computer.

Uploading the video will be the same as uploading a picture and sending to friends and family. And to send it toward YouTube, you need to enter a small numeric code so your video can be posted. The videos will go through a monitoring process, filtering out any questionable videos such as pornography or copyrighted material.

Verizon sees this as a huge draw to attract people towards purchasing their phones. Their reason for this is that things happen all the time and almost everyone today carries a cellphone. Thus, they realized it would be a good idea to combine the technologies. The world is now literally at your fingertips. With the touch of a few buttons, you can watch any clip you desire on YouTube, provided they carry it.

This is a remarkable plan. It really shows where technology is heading and this partnership is only the first step. YouTube is already a great vehicle for uploading almost anything you want. Now that it is combined with a cellphone, there’s no telling what people will post on the site. We could see footage of protest rallies in different parts of the world or see what it looks like from the top of a mountain.

Video cameras are no longer the only tool making it possible to record events in action. A cellphone is easier to carry around due to its size and shape. Now the industry hasn’t arrived in creating superior video quality for cellphone videos but in time, we’ll see it happen.

I wonder how this will change the face of journalism. There are only so many journalists and we can’t be everywhere at once to cover speeches or events. Any person with a Verizon cellphone can tape what he or she sees happening. Some people might be in the right place at the right time and expose a big secret! And in this day and age, people can post videos right onto their blog, provided it’s not copyrighted material.

The news does not come from newspapers or radio anymore. It is entering the hands of the everyday people. It doesn’t mean we should believe everything we watch because videos can be manipulated and twisted like a picture. We need to verify the information with trusted sources. We need to apply critical thinking to everything.

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