Although we’re late in the game with our video service I do believe we stand a chance. Why? Because we can differentiate where others maybe can’t. Soapbox gets ok/good reviews, but at the moment there’s no real reason to switch to it when you’re using YouTube, Google Video, dailymotion, … or any of the other services.
But there are many opportunities and when they are filled in right (and not too late) Soapbox might become very interesting. Here is what I hope will in Soapbox’s future:
Windows Live Messenger
For the moment it’s already possible to share Soapbox videos through Messenger (and watch it together with one of your buddies), which is a recent update to the service. It would be great though if you could see in your buddy list on Messenger who of your friends has recently uploaded a video to Soapbox. This just like you can see updated Spaces as well in your buddy list.
In the US, the advertising space in Messenger is shared between classic banners (234×60 in this case) and clips for MSN Video. It would be nice if Soapbox would get a place here as well.
Through Xbox Live there are numerous opportunities for Soapbox to integrate with the Xbox. The most important feature would be the option to consult Soapbox via Xbox Live on your television. With +10M consoles sold today & +5M Xbox Live subscribers I’m sure that would give immediate results.
But think also the other way around. Wouldn’t it be nice that you could easily record a cool part of the gameplay and upload that to the internet, without ever leaving your Xbox nor television? Of course Xbox Live would foresee easy access to these clips for your Xbox Live friends… so you can show of your coolest chainsaw kill in GOW ;-)
With Media Center the story is similar to the Xbox. You’re on your tv, connected to the internet and consulting Soapbox from there would make it quite accessible. With Media Center in nearly every version of Vista, I do believe usage will grow quite fast the next coming months. The release of Windows Live for TV (beta) looks promising in that direction.
Same as with the Xbox, there’s also the upload functionality that should be Media Center enabled. Connect your handycam, select your home movie, and upload directly from your tv to the web.
I guess this is a no-brainer, but integration with the Zune should be interesting in the future. One-click download from Soapbox to the Zune and maybe even Soapbox integration with the Zune store… who knows.
Last but not least, I think mobile will gain a lot of importance in 2007 and I’m definitely not alone as you will find this in many of the predictions for 2007. You can already watch Soapbox videos on mobile, but that’s just a start. Mobile content will gain more and more importance so again uploading is a request.
I guess there are a lot more ways to integrate Soapbox with some of the other products & services at Microsoft, but these seem the most relevant to me. I have no view if they are on a roadmap for the moment, I just hope they are. Any ideas yourself on Soapbox?