Chill. Most everyone has used the word before, generally as a verb. ‘Wanna chill?’ is a fairly vague question, but there’s a general understanding that you’re going to be spending time with the people that you care about, enjoying some form of media, and sharing the experience with the people that you know.
Chill is bringing this to the web as a place for you to share and watch videos with the people that you choose to follow. There’s enough to do on the Web that requires some thought; it’s about time to chill and catch up on some videos.
That Elephant in the Room
Before you all scroll down to the bottom of this page and light the Comments section on fire, I’m going to state right at the beginning that this has a marked resemblance to Pinterest (and, by ‘marked resemblance’ I mean it looks like a carbon copy) and that some people are going to dismiss the service for that reason alone. Don’t.
Sure, Pinterest is lots of fun (or so I hear). Yes, you can ‘pin’ videos. Chill is different. Chill is simple and focused solely on videos, for starters, and open to anyone to use as a closer. No ‘beta’ label. No invite needed. Just sign in with Facebook, and Chill.
Right away I fell in love with Chill’s interface. I didn’t have to try to figure out how I would sign up, and I didn’t need to dig through menus and sub-menus. I clicked that huge Sign Up with Facebook button, authorized the app, and got going.
Yeah, there’s another deal-breaker for some: that Facebook login thing. While I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy the convenience of logging in everywhere without the need for usernames and passwords, there are some people that either don’t have Facebook or don’t feel comfortable authorizing any application that they come across.
It’s up to you. In my experience Chill doesn’t seem malicious, and with the amount of users that it has I’m sure that some dirt should have been dug up by now. There is one annoyance that I had, though, but it’s practically a necessary evil at this point:
Services like this are doomed to a quick, soon-forgotten death if they can’t keep your interest. Instead of trying to populate your page with the videos that the people you’re already friends with on Facebook (though that’s certainly possible) Chill takes the liberty of subscribing you to a couple (35) people that they have deemed interesting. Unfollowing them is easy, but there’s no harm in having a few videos ready to go.
There’s also a Popular section populated by (you guessed it) the more popular videos on the service. I’m not sure how they decide what constitutes as Popular; some of the videos that they display in that section only had one view, while others had as many as 160. Whether this is some witchery performed by grabbing statistics from the main home of the video (more on that later) or a near-arbitrary status that Chill doles out is unclear.
Really, what you need to know is that finding something worth watching in that non-uniform grid is easy. There is always something that you can afford to watch on Chill.
Your videos on Chill are pulled from other sources, like YouTube and Vimeo. Sharing these videos is as easy as grabbing the URL from the page that you happened to be viewing, pasting it into Chill’s sharing interface, and watching as Chill updates the thumbnail image and gives you a few more options.
Chief among those options is the ability to rename the video (as I did with the one that I have felt worthy of sharing so far) and then say how the video made you feel. While it’s possible to add a comment, Chill encourages simple communication via the displayed emoticons. A video, according to Chill, can make you laugh, smile, or frown, or you can feel ‘wowed’ or love. If a video’s funny, click the little laughing smiley face. If it blew your hair back, all you need to say is ‘wow’.
One interesting feature is the ability to automatically share videos that you post to Facebook with the people that follow you on Chill. I didn’t feel comfortable with that as I sometimes put up videos of personal importance that I don’t want shared, or with people that are okay with having a video on Facebook but not some service that they don’t even know. Be sure to get someone’s permission before you share a video, especially if they aren’t aware of where it’s going to be shared (this message brought to you from the try-to-avoid-lawsuits team at the AppStorm network).
Oh boy, the main attraction: watching those videos that you’ve found through Chill. This is obviously an important aspect of the service, and I didn’t feel let down by Chill’s offering. Videos expand to take up most of the screen, displaying the video on the right, comments on the left, and a running list of the people that have watched the video on the bottom.
The comments tend to be fairly tame, already bringing Chill head-and-shoulders above YouTube in terms of comment content. Comments were sized to the point that they were readable but not overwhelming, allowing you to participate in the conversation while also keeping the focus on the video that you’re watching.
By showing who has watched a particular video Chill is really promoting its own virtual community. If you keep seeing someone’s face pop-up underneath videos that you’ve really enjoyed, it may be worth following that person and checking out the videos that they share. It’s also nice to see the people that are watching something, giving you that little bit of human connection that can really help Chill in the long run.
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Chill. It has some barriers to entry, like requiring Facebook for a login and looking like a Pinterest rip-off, but if you can make your way past that you’ll find an easy, intuitive experience that makes streaming video more of a personal activity instead of something that you do in the dead of night, alone.
Since Chill is free there’s no harm in giving the service a try. It pushes the right buttons, and if you have some time to kill I suggest that you head over and Chill. (I apologize for all of the puns.)
Chill is a new service that makes it easy to watch and share the videos that you come across during your day.8
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