Chill is not a new site. Back in 2011, Chill was branded more as a place where people could DJ sets of YouTube videos for spectators. You had to have a Facebook friend already on Chill to join. The site was divided up into "rooms" or "lounges". You loaded up a queue of YouTube or Vimeo videos, took the stage in avatar form, and got votes on how people liked your setlist (thumbs-up, thumbs-down). The whole idea was centered on "social listening".
In August, 2011, Chill's founders released this statement about its launch:
"Chill is a place for people to watch video together. We’ve been saying all along, “everything is better with friends,” and this applies to watching video. And the thing is, you already know this to be true. How many times have you swiveled your laptop around to show friends or colleagues a funny clip on YouTube? Or emailed a video clip to a sibling or friend across the country just to put a smile on their face? It happens every day. This is exactly the analog behavior we’re attempting to mimic on Chill.
Our goal is to create a simple, fun and social environment for people to express themselves through the sharing of video.
We believe people want richer, more immersive social experiences on the Web—not just in video. Anyone should be able to easily create their own channel (we call them lounges), program it how they want, and enjoy it with others. And to do that, we’ve decided to deeply integrate Chill into Facebook and Twitter to make it dead-simple for people to invite friends to watch video together."
But, as we know, the Pinterest phenomenon has caught. I can imagine every CEO whose business has a web presence has walked into IT and asked, "How can we use Pinterest? Can we promote with it? Can we redesign to look like it?"
Chill was founded by Brian Norgard and Dan Gould, who also started Namesake and Adly. They work out of something called The Founder's Room in Hollywood. There is a Twitter account for The Founder's Room, but is has nine tweets and hasn't been updated since 2010.
Long live innovators.
The Founder's Room apparently is a place where these men of ideas gather to talk about concepts for websites and business. Let's see what they've turned out.
What does Adly do? I have to say, the About section on Adly's blog page is one of the most succinct summations of on online service that I've seen in years:
Adly runs celebrity endorsements in social media. It helps brands connect with consumers via the most influential celebrities, athletes and artists on today’s most popular platforms.
Want to know what Namesake does? That's a little tougher to suss out from just the descriptions on the site itself:
Namesake is community built around real-time conversation. It's easy to find the people and topics that make life interesting — discover new people, build trust and improve your life.
Namesake is a place where you can post topics to discuss and engage people who have demonstrated some level of interest or even expertise on the subject. Again, it was based on the idea of social interaction. The site was constantly evolving.
Brian Norgard once said about Namesake:
It takes a long time to build a great product. You never get it right on the first evolution of your product.
Perhaps the newer evolutions of Chill are occupying a lot of The Founders' time. The Founders of Namesake used to be some of the most prolific posters on the site. None of them have posted on there in over three months.
So, the new vision for Chill is a big redesign. According to a blog post on Chill:
Everything has been re-imagined in the new Chill. Your home is now a grid of videos shared by the people you care about. And the most important activity — watching video — is built to be a fully-integrated and immersive viewing experience that doesn’t force you to leave the page.
No blog posts from before the redesign are available now.
So, the "masonry" style design, ability to group videos together into "collections", etc. is the model. If you have been on Pinterest, Chill will look familiar and comfortable right out of the box. Signup is via Facebook only, which will present a problem for the 90% of the world that does not use Facebook. Pinterest itself has moved to this practice. If you got in early enough to have avoided that and all its Pinterest “Spamming” Facebook?" target="_blank">attendant spamming issues, count yourself lucky. Chill should made signing in via Facebook an option, not mandatory.
One of the most common tweets about Chill concerns a collection of Steve Jobs videos that were posted after his death. That gives a good example of the kind of usefulness for Chill. That of collecting videos all relating to a given topic. Like independent bands and musicians? Have fun searching YouTube for them, and collect them together on Chill. Want to gather together the best clips of commercials from the 70's? Build a collection for that. You can share that collection to Facebook for a fun time with your friends.
The prevalence of websites that are going to the "Pinterest look" is stunning. Pinterest: A New Way To Do Old Stuff" target="_blank">We've talked about that before. And, while Pinterest can already do video, the focus of a site that aims just for that can only propel the entire new vision into a good direction.