YouTube creators target Vine, Instagram with MixBit
CNN — The people who created YouTube are getting into the quickie-video app business ... with a twist.
MixBit, like Vine and now Instagram, lets users upload short videos from their smartphones. But that's just the beginning of what creators Steve Chen and Chad Hurley -- two of the three brains behind YouTube -- envision for the app, which went live on Thursday.
MixBit lets users shoot video snippets up to 16 seconds in length -- more than Instagram (15 seconds) and Vine (6 seconds). Once uploaded, all MixBit videos are fair game for other users to edit, splice and mix with their own, creating new videos up to an hour long.
"When we built YouTube, we wanted to help people share their videos with each other and the world ... ," Hurley wrote in a blog post. "Today we want to remove the barriers to video creation."
A Web version of MixBit and an app for Apple devices are now up and running. An Android version is expected to roll out before the end of September.
With camera-equipped smartphones and tablets becoming nearly omnipresent, the past couple of years have seen a wave of quick video editing and uploading tools roll out.
In addition to Twitter-owned Vine and Facebook's Instagram, which start as photo-only, apps like Viddy and Socialcam have sought to entice users increasingly accustomed to being able to create and share on the go.
The key for MixBit, creators say, is encouraging collaborative creation, often among complete strangers. The app features easy-to-use editing tools that let users link up video clips as short as one second long.
Up to 256 clips can be used in a video, which can be up to an hour long.
"MixBit.com is a community of creators," Hurley wrote. "People who want to record and share pieces of their lives and the things they love -- concerts, favorite foods, trips to new places, or just hanging out with friends and family -- as well as filmmakers, citizen journalists and everyone in between. MixBit is also for people who enjoy playing with video in order to create something new and unexpected."
And, acknowledging a basic truth of the Internet, he adds that MixBit is also "for people who like cat videos."
Chen and Hurley, along with Jawed Karim, were early PayPal employees who left to create YouTube in 2005. The following year, YouTube was purchased by Google for more than $1.5 billion and went on to become the Web's leading video site. It's now estimated to be the third most-visited site on the Internet, behind Google and Facebook.