With the wealth of video content online these days, it has become increasingly difficult to find the time to consume it all. You could spend hours watching videos across social media sites and in mobile apps and still only scratch the surface of the day’s popular video offerings before tomorrow rolls around and brings with it a fresh wave of interesting clips.
Minute is a video discovery app that wants to make this video viewing experience simpler and more efficient. And it aims to do so by synthesizing the best of viral video and by bringing you a personalized daily digest of the web’s video content based on your likes and dislikes.
When you first open the free Minute app, you’ll be greeted with a couple of splash screens explaining the purpose of the app — “All the best videos, just shorter” — before jumping straight into the content. There’s no need to create an account, you can simply begin watching videos straight away.
Using crowd-sourced data and some algorithmic smarts, Minute presents users with sections of 6-10 videos to peruse. At the top page, you’ll see a section labeled ‘Your Daily News’ containing a collection of the day’s important, interesting, popular and noteworthy videos from a variety of publishers and on a broad spectrum of topics. Below it, lie curated sections dubbed ‘Entertain Me!’, ‘World of Sport’, ‘Geeks Only’, and ‘Funny as Hell’ to name a few. These can feature anything from movie trailers to wildlife to extreme sports and more.
Minute isn’t simply curating video playlists, though. When you enter into one of the sections, the videos within are presented in a card-like interface and are shortened to just the 15-25 seconds determined to be the most relevant and interesting part. Using various metrics, Minute’s data analysis algorithm is capable of identifying the best snippet of a video to present to you allowing you to breeze through a selection of videos in a fraction of the time it would take you in order to watch them all fully or skipping around to find that important moment. If a video strikes you as particularly interesting, you have the option to watch it in full at the tap of a button or bookmark it for viewing later.
The algorithm is excellent for shortening the viewing experience, allowing you to get a gist of more content in less time, and quickly decide if a clip is for you or not. Generally, it did find the best part of a video, cutting out a lot of the filler, but a couple of times I found the provided snippet to be just slightly off the mark. When watching highlights from this month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, for example, the clips occasionally cut off footage of goals awkwardly. While I understand 25 seconds is restrictive, and the option to watch the full video is there, the experience was jarring when it happened (however infrequently it was).
Minute also learns from the videos you like (and dislike). That card-like interface, akin to Tinder in many ways, also operates a bit like the dating app in terms of its functionality — swipe right to like and left to register your dislike. Future video recommendations are tailored to your tastes and over time I found that my feed began to reflect my interests more and more.
As well as being great for some light entertainment, I actually found Minute to be a really useful way to quickly catch up on the day’s news. The ‘Your Daily News’ section was always up to date and most days has brought me a good cross-section of news I am interested in. The same can’t always be said for the other curated sections which sometimes managed to surface videos that were over a year old.
The overall user experience of Minute is superb. The app is fluid, easy to pick up and very polished. Being video-heavy by nature, the video loading speed can determine how great your experience feels but on a fast Wi-Fi or LTE connection you shouldn’t run into any problems. One small qualm I had with the app was when sharing a link to a video or playlist which requires the recipient to then open the video in Minute’s web view (from which it is difficult to open the video at its original source). Not a deal breaker by any means, but worth noting.
Minute is a unique, fun and easy to use way to consume video. While there are some areas for improvement, for the most part Minute achieves its aim of streamlining the video watching experience and allows you to indulge in multiple video highlights from different topics without spending hours trawling the web and social media. The app is well put together and the experience is of a high quality.