A San Francisco startup called Koozoo has released an app today that puts a fresh face on mobile video apps. The App creates a network of streaming smartphone cameras by Koozoo network users, providing an always on connection to the feeds. The app works on smartphones, provided they have Wi-Fi access, enabling those piles of old smartphones to be utilized as streaming web cameras. The network is launching today in San Francisco as well as Austin, TX, and will be expanding soon.
Users can use the service in a few different ways. Koozoo allows users to upload small snippets of video, or to provide an always on video stream. These can then be shared via Facebook and Twitter, and anyone is allowed to watch the streams.Don’t worry though, Koozoo does review the content of the streaming channels before they go live, to ensure that the feeds are not broadcasting illicit or possibly right-infringing material. There is also a flagging feature, whereby users can flag content that they deem as offensive.
Although all of this sounds a little Orwellian, but the ethos of the Koozoo network is about enriching people’s lives, not monitoring them. CEO Drew Sechrist claims, “Big Brother is your government one way looking down at you, and this is the exact opposite. This is from the ground looking up from a system that people can all benefit from,” Sechrist. Koozoo is looking to use its feeds to provide insight into how crowded locations are, what the weather is like, and even to monitor actions in political protest situations.
If you are a user who is providing an always on stream, your smartphone will stay in hibernation if no one is watching your feed, and will start broadcasting again once someone tunes in to your feed. This feature will save much needed battery life, and cut back on bandwidth consumption. And if you sign up through the app, Koozoo will send you a suction cup so that you can hang your smartphone from any glass surface. And for now, the service is free, although Koozoo has stated it will charge for more premium services in the future.