Eliza demonstrated a potential holy shit the other day when she sent the following message showed up in a chat window… “Click to see my video”.
Being a regular surfer of the Internet, I immediately thought, “Cool, porn.”
When I clicked on the link, I was surprised to see a small window appear with Eliza in it. She was working at her desk, typing away. This happened also immediately with no plug-ins or software to install… it “just worked”.
A reminder: “just working” is a leading indicator of a holy shit experience. The Mac “just worked”. Using a web browser “just worked”. Looking up in Quake “just worked”. What “just working” means is there is zero difference between what you expected to occur and what actually occurs.
Live webcams have been around forever. I remember showing off CuSeeMe to co-workers back in 1995-96, so why in the world would I call this Eliza experience a holy shit moment? What about her webcam showing up so easily on my desktop made me run to my garage and grab my box of technical odds’n’ends, looking for my old Logitech camera? It was because Logitech made it brain dead simple.
In the past, setting up your live webcam involved purchasing the software, setting it up, making sure you had a connection that supported it, and then, this is the killer, finding people to broadcast to. In the Eliza experience above, all I needed to do was click on a link. That’s the beauty of the solution. Logitech solved the last mile problem of finding people to broadcast to by riding piggy back on great source of quality people you care about, your AIM or Microsoft Messenger buddy list. Coupled with the fact that Windows XP/2000 has the entire infrastructure built in that is necessary to receive a live cam, it’s likely that you can receive this streams right this very second.
Why has Logitech made it so easy? Duh, they want to sell cameras. They’ve probably already sold a ton, but they want every person with an AOL-level intelligence and higher to buy one. They want Suzie Lou and Grandma Ethel to be able to see their nephews and grandkids. They want MARKET PENETRATION. With instant messaging integration and zero set-up, they’ve taken a large step forward.
Useful video on the Internet stalled when promise of unlimited bandwidth disappeared along with a good portion of your 401k savings. In the past week, I’ve shared a birthday party with close friends who have moved to Seattle and to Portland. I saw the daughter of a friend in New York for the first time. During that time, I am also directly responsible for selling three Logitech cameras. I am willing participant in Logitech’s viral marketing campaign because I love the product and so will you.
[Update 3/23/03]: By the way, the software requirements to broadcast are reasonable, but they are Windows only. Blah.