Microsoft has taken Soapbox out of private beta and opened it for the general public. Soapbox was first released back in mid-September 2007 as an invitation only beta. The fact that Microsoft was building a service to rival YouTube was already known, and CEO Chad Hurley revealed that the Redmond Company was hard at work on a copy of YouTube.
Microsoft has so far struggled with Soapbox. While YouTube has moved since then under the Google umbrella for $1.6 dollars, Soapbox is only now available as a public beta. The fact of the matter is that while YouTube has become synonymous with viral videos, and is the core video entertainment destination on the world wide web, Soapbox is struggling with virtual total anonymity. Additionally, Google is light years ahead with implementing a business model on YouTube. Soapbox will first have to exit beta, and only then will it be able to earn its first dollars.
And while YouTube is a recipe for success, Soapbox bears no similarities to it, past the fact that the service they deliver is similar. The only downside I see at this time is the fact that the content available is limited. But due to the fact that it has been an invitation only beta as far, this is understandable. Soapbox also looks sketchy. It lacks the luxuriant taxonomy and offerings of YouTube.
But the big pluses are the graphical user interface and the overall style and design. Another positive aspect is the way Soapbox handles viewing a video. The area reserved for playback is superior to what YouTube has to offer. Also, the swap between windows viewing and full screen mode is natural, and resembles the process from desktop players, no lag, and no re-load necessary.
And of course you can embed videos just as is the case with YouTube, just have a look at Bill Gates on Comedy Central with Jon Stewart on Soapbox. It's hilarious!
Bill Gates, Microsoft, Online Video, YouTube, Hilarious