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from the where-things-are-headed dept
There’s been a lot of talk lately about what has made sites like YouTube successful. Certainly, ease of use, is one component — but it’s not just ease of use for uploading videos, but really the ease of use of distributing the videos. That is, YouTube made it incredibly easy to embed videos into your own site. While it does involve using Flash, it’s a common enough platform that most people have it at this point. So, it doesn’t involve extra downloads. It works quite smoothly, and suddenly it doesn’t matter where the video is hosted, it just works… wherever you want it to work. It looks like plenty of others are beginning to recognize that this “distribution by embedding” element is extremely powerful, and can work in a variety of contexts. A few weeks ago, Chris Anderson pointed out that perhaps the real power of things like Google’s new online spreadsheet offering was that you would eventually be able to break out elements of functionality from it and embed it into some other website or web service. That’s the sort of thing that adds functionality you won’t find in Microsoft Office just yet, even if they release a free, ad-supported version. Now, Om Malik reports that Adobe (owners of Flash) are trying to embrace this concept as well, by building VoIP systems directly into Flash, making it easy to embed voice connectivity into any website. Again, while there are a few products that offer similar functionality, it hasn’t been at a level that makes it easy to embed just about any kind of VoIP product or service directly into a webpage. This doesn’t mean that Adobe’s offering will succeed (there are plenty of challenges), but it is worth paying attention to this idea of easily embeddable elements really beginning to catch on. It will let people do things they’ve never been able to do before — and that’s where revolutions are usually born.