uvLayer is an Adobe Air application that allows you to watch, collect, and share videos from a cool desktop-based interface. It can also log into your Facebook account and allow you to share videos with your Facebook friends simply by dragging and dropping them on your friends’ icons.
If you are serious about collecting videos, or serious about sharing them with your friends (or both), you should definitely check out uvLayer. What it is is a desktop interface that handles videos as thumbnailed-objects that can be dragged into folders on your uvLayer desktop. The end effect is really rather pleasing; so much so that even if it never occurred to you to (a) create collections of favorite videos, or (b) start sharing these with friends on Facebook, you might be persuaded to start doing so. Here are more notes on this program:
- The user inferface: looks very good (see screenshot). All videos and drag-and-droppable. You can move your videos into stacks on the uvLayer desktop or sort them within folders. You can also drag and drop them to share them with your Facebook friends.
- Video sources: the uvLayer help file indicates that the videos are obtained from YouTube and Truveo (with more to be added in the future). It would be cool if in the future uvLayer can function as a sort of meta search engine
- Search: naturally, this is the most important function. Search results are displayed as thumbnails in virtual folders, and mousing over these will deliver more info on each video in the form of a tooltip. Keeping the search folder on the desktop acts as a saved search.While the general coolness factor is undeniable, uvLayer might not be the most efficient way to search for a specific video if you prefer to quickly eyeball a page of results for all relevant info.
- Video playback: you can watch individual videos or create playlists. Videos are viewed in a resizable window or full screen. A number of mini thumbnails for related videos appears at the end of each video, and one of the tabs in the interface can be used to post or read uvLayer specific comments from you or your friends (these are not the original comments posted on YouTube).
- Community sharing: assuming that you have a Facebook account, and that your Facebook buddies are using uvLayer, they will appear as icons on the left hand side of the screen. Aside from sharing your video collection with them you can also check out their activity feed to see what they might be watching. Another way to share videos is by IMing or Emailing URLs; uvLayer is able to take a video or stack of videos that you select and generate a single URL that can then be used from any browser to display the videos on the uvLayer website, even if the recipient is not using uvLayer (an ubercool feature IMHO).
- Adding/publishing your own videos: is apparently possible, although I couldn’t figure out how to do it from either the uvLayer help on their website or the smattering of illustrative videos on uvLayer.
- Adobe Air: is a cross platform operating system that’s designed to bring web apps to the desktop (see here). What this means to you if you are interested in using uvLayer is that you will have to download and install Adobe Air before you can do so.
The verdict: this is an interesting program not just in that it is rather well implemented and has a nice UI, but also because it suggests possibilities for how social networks and media will converge. What I am wondering about is why uvLayer is restricted to video, and I am guessing that it will at some point branch out to audio/mp3s and images as well.
Aside from the above, it is an open question why a user who is not (a) an active Facebook user, and (b) really interested in collecting and watching videos might want to install this locally on their machine (especially if they do not have Adobe Air already installed). There really should be more of a reason to compel somebody from moving from logging on to YouTube or other video sharing sites and using uvLayer; for now I guess general coolness and Facebook sharing will just have to suffice.
Watch illustrative uvLayer video below:
[Thanks to user Brockman for letting me know about this — keep up the good work my friend!].
Version Tested: 0.046
Compatibility: Windows, Mac. Requires Adobe Air.
Go to the uvLayer page to download the latest version (approx 1.39 megs).