Boxee, the company known for creating the software that lets users access online video through their TVs, introduced a new initiative this week that indicates it has big plans for the future. The new service is called Cloudee and is a mobile app that allows users to create, share, and store their own video content in the cloud.
“The idea is to provide an unlimited space for all the users’ videos in the cloud, which we believe is a real need that users have,” Avner Ronen, Boxee’s CEO, tells us.
Cloudee brings the concept of private sharing to users, since they can share their videos with specific friends and family that they choose, instead of sharing them publicly. YouTube and services such as Viddy and Socialcam are geared toward public sharing, whereas Cloudee is very private and includes more long-term content, explained Ronen. Boxee views Cloudee as being a place for users to put collections of videos. For instance, they can have categories for birthdays and vacations.
The new service has also been compared to Dropbox for its storage capabilities. Ronen, however, told us that Cloudee is very different since it is focused on the video experience and social capabilities.
“People can now capture more videos than ever… you can email those videos, and you can post them on YouTube, and you can put them on Dropbox,” said Ronen. “But, we still think that there’s an opportunity there to provide a place that the users can trust.”
“I think it [Cloudee] fills a void,” he added.
Although there has been an influx of mobile video-sharing apps lately, Boxee’s Cloudee did come as a bit of a surprise from the company. As a result, rumors have begun to circulate that the company could be shifting its focus. Ronen denied the claim saying that Cloudee would actually be the way to monetize Boxee.
“We spoke kinda vaguely in the past about the fact that we were going introduce premium features in Boxee as a way to monetize,” he said. “Cloudee is the way we’re going in terms of monetization.”
“It’s [Cloudee’s] going to be a big part of the Boxee experience moving forward,” he continued.
The company wants its Boxee Box to work hand-in-hand with Cloudee. The vision is for Boxee Box users and Cloudee users to have the same relationship as iPhone users do to iCloud users.
Rumors have also been spreading that Cloudee could be Boxee’s first step toward launching a cloud-based DVR service to be used with its Live TV dongle released earlier this year. Ronen also refuted this rumor saying that, while it would be great for users, it would be a challenge to build.
“I think it would be a great feature, if it could be done – enabling DVR in the cloud,” Ronen said. “But, I think technologically, it’s very difficult to potentially solve.”
Since people are trending toward consuming video through services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Boxee, Ronen did say that the company believes the cloud, and particularly Cloudee, will play a role in TV consumption going forward.
“We think the cloud is gonna be a big part of the future of television,” he pointed out. “Looking into the future, there’s no real need for local storage in the user’s home [because] everything can be in the cloud when it comes to video.”
Ronen also told us that Boxee hopes to be the company that makes this possible. In other words, Cloudee could definitely be the beginning of some very big things from Boxee.
At this point, Cloudee is in closed beta, but users can sign up for an invite here.