The new how-to website, Howcast, may be what many other developers have been trying to get at with their information sites but have built top-heavy, Google-polluting ones that are ultimately too bogged down with ads to use. Howcast has it all. It combines the ease of videos with the simplicity of Google and the community-friendly aspects of Yahoo! and MySpace. Howcast is a site that you’ll want to know about, like, now.
Of course, anyone can join Howcast, as well as be a video contributor. YouTube users have been posting their how-to’s, and visitors who know the site almost always check YouTube first. You’d be surprised at all that is already out there on the Net – how to play guitar, how to use torrents – made by amateurs for no money.
There was clearly a desire for this sort of information, and the designers of Howcast have made it so easy your mother, father, and grandparents can use it. Moreover, if you feel like making some of these videos yourself, you can become a “Howcast director” and earn some cash if people find your how-to video useful. You must know something no one else knows how to do. You have to apply to the Directors Program and you’ll be paid for every video you make.
You’d be surprised what great pieces of advice people are willing to produce and upload. Today’s featured videos, for instance, included “How to Make a Party Hat,” “How to Create a Comic Book Effect in Photoshop,” “How to Be the Life of the Party,” even “How to Understand a Work of Art.”
Some of the more obscure instruction include “How to Get Rid of a Hickey” and “How to Stay Awake While Driving,” even “How to Cook on Your Car Engine.”
It won’t come as a surprise that Howcast was developed by the founders of Google and YouTube, which makes it a force to be reckoned with, and very likely the next really big thing in information-based community websites. Not only that, but Howcast vids are coming to a website near you; the company has already signed distribution deals with MySpace, YouTube, Verizon FiOS TV, Joost, and ROO. The videos are also available on iTunes as video podcasts.
Many media moguls think they know what the people want. The Google and YouTube guys found out that low-tech and useful trumps hi-tech and complicated every time. Speed is probably the number one element web users look for, and it’s the main reason for Google’s success. Many of the information sites from five years ago are now useless because they have so much stuff happening on them. The Google template of a mostly white page with some valuable linkage is clearly the way to go in the modern web world.
All of this makes me wonder if there will be a moment in the near future when it will be possible to never have to leave one’s home – not for school, not for shopping, not for exercise, not for love and companionship. It’s a bit terrifying to have all of this information and excitement at our fingertips. Who would have thought that in the end the Internet would be used for communication and information above all else?
I’d love to sit and chat about this all day, but I just found a video on “How to Unplug the Internet Once and For All.” No, just kidding. There isn’t such a video. I’ll have to settle for learning how to build a paper airplane instead.