Today, Joost announced that all of its content is now available directly on its website and not just through its desktop client. Joost was one of the most hyped-up companies on the web when the peer-to-peer streaming video service was still in stealth mode in 2006 and beta invites were rare and coveted. However, once users actually got a look at Joost, disillusion quickly set in. Joost’s video quality was very high and it had signed up a wide range of content producers, but its downfall was its reliance on a desktop client. Users were already switching to viewing video on the web and having to start up a client just to watch video was simply too inconvenient.
Joost announced that it was working on a browser-based version in March. Currently, you will still need to install a plugin for your browser to view videos on Joost, but starting in October, Joost will also move towards a completely Flash-based system. The plugin will remain necessary for watching HD content and live video, however.
Even though Joost does not rely on its P2P architecture anymore, the video quality is still high, especially in full-screen mode, but it does not rival that of the ‘HD’ offering of ABC or Vimeo.
Joost has also added a wealth of social features to its site. You can now easily share videos with your friends on Joost and join one of the newly established Joost groups. Also, everything you watch is stored in your ‘JoostFeed,’ which you can choose to make public. If you really do not want your friends to know that you have been watching Brittany Spears videos all night again, you can also turn on a ‘Stealth Mode.’
Because of its reliance on a plugin, however, Joost does not offer the ability to embed videos yet. We assume that this feature will be available once Joost has moved over to using Flash.
Too Little, Too Late?
Overall, we think it was about time for Joost to move to the browser. However, a lot of what Joost set out to do in 2006 has already been done on the web. Its biggest competitor is probably Hulu, which has content deals with almost every large TV network and is slowly adding more HD content. Joost will have a hard time competing, unless it can sign up a similarly large number of quality content producers.