It used to be that our devices were primarily used for consuming content created by “professionals.” Our TVs, radios, and digital music players connected us to a world of highly controlled and distributed entertainment. Even our computers were often used to play games or run software created by someone else.
Today, we’re increasingly using our connected devices to create and share our own content. It may not be award-worthy, but it’s important to us and our friends and family. Facebook was arguably the platform that made sharing our lives—through status updates, photos, and videos—a normal thing to do. Now, this sharing is becoming a major reason for using a connected device or service.
Smartphones are now built around the concept of sharing. The Samsung Galaxy S III is coming to the major U.S. cellular carriers in the next few weeks, and the phone’s marketing materials are all about sharing. You can use the AllShare Play service to get notified of any Samsung HDTVs, mobile tablets, laptops, or other consumer electronic devices on the same network that are ready to receive video files. You can also remotely access files from devices on other networks. A feature called Share Shot lets one person become the “official photographer” for a group. The photographer can share photos taken on the phone with other phones from up to 200 feet away when synched with those devices. So you don’t even have to send an email or post anything to share.
There have been a lot of rumors about a possible “Facebook phone.” While it’s hard to say if Facebook can create a hardware experience people will love, the concept is solid given the direction devices are taking. Completely integrated sharing is coming to our phones and other connected products, and it’s only natural Facebook would want to control the hardware experience as well.
Today we don’t necessarily want to spend the evening watching TV shows on cable; we may want to watch videos of our friend’s vacation, or our sister’s new baby. Connected devices are making it easier for this to happen.
Boxee is the company behind the Boxee Box, an Internet-streaming device and platform that allows you to watch Web content on your regular TV. But now Boxee is branching out. The company just announced a Boxee cloud service that lets you share personal videos with family and friends.
The gist of the service is that sometimes it’s hard to get our personal videos—taken with myriad devices—onto the TV screen for others to watch. A new iPhone app lets you upload videos to Cloudee to share. Your friends can then watch them whenever they like.
I don’t think professional content will ever die out. The video of your friend’s kid stacking rolls of toilet paper can’t really compete with a good episode of “Mad Men.” But we love the kid videos for a different reason, and we’re spending more time engaging with this personal content. In a connected world, our devices are helping us stay closer to people around us.