As of this year, Facebook decided to maximize the potential of its (our?) content by prioritizing video to make up almost a third of the News Feed. For the first time ever, Facebook videos now exceed the number of YouTube clips shared through the social network. Not the type to rest on their laurels, the Menlo-Park company made another push in the video department this week and released a brand new app called Riff.
Originally developed as a side project by Facebook Creative Labs – the same inventive group who made Slingshot, Paper and Facebook Groups – Riff is here to play catch with Vine, Snapchat, and Hyperlapse. However, unlike other Facebook endeavors, Riff stands to gain some momentum.
Collaboration at its funnest
Appropriately dubbed Riff, the tool lets you shoot 20-second videos of anything you want with the ability to post the clip online and let your friends add their own ideas to it. The real fun begins when your most imaginative buddies start building on top of that original creation while preserving the context.
For example, one of Riff’s early adopters has created a clip titled “Adventures of Mr. Banana.” Shot from a first-banana perspective, the footage shows the adventurous piece of fruit encountering different people and objects to ultimately create an episodic excursion. Facebook liked it so much they’re promoting it as a Featured riff.
Product manager Josh Miller calls the app “a creative tool to make videos with friends.” He says “Our hunch was that if you could make videos collaboratively, the creative process would be more fun.” Apparently that intuition is already paying off. Some clips have racked up tens of thousands of views in the two days since Riff’s inception.
A splash of color
Whether or not Riff’s kiddy interface was designed using permanent markers, the visual departure from Facebook’s traditional blue theme is a welcome change. The software is super intuitive and straightforward, and you can have your original content up in the cloud in a matter of seconds after downloading the app for the first time. As more clips get added, Facebook spits out updates allowing viewers to keep track of a video’s evolution. Users can skip through the boring parts as they please, and they can even share the content on other social networks.
“Once a friend adds a clip to your video, your friend’s friends will also be shown the video in Riff and will be able to add to it,” Miller says. “The potential pool of creative collaborators can grow exponentially from there, so a short video can become an inventive project between circles of friends that you can share to Facebook, or anywhere on the internet, at any time.”
Facebook plans to keep close tabs on Riff’s activity and is already cooking up some new functionality, according to spokesperson Lauren Svensson. So far the tool doesn’t serve ads. But if it proves popular with the masses there’s no guarantee that things will stay the same. Both iOS and Android users can enjoy Riff by grabbing the free app from their respective app stores.
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