Over eight months after releasing Milk, its own take on streaming music, Samsung's unleashing an online video service in the US called Milk Video. Just as its music service seemed to take on competitors like Spotify and Rdio, its movie counterpart is similar to options such as YouTube and Vimeo, with a few differences here and there. Much of the free app's content comes from partnerships like Funny or Die, Vevo, The Onion and CollegeHumor, and the list of videos is curated by Samsung and placed into category-specific feeds, such as tech, comedy and music; you can also set up your own personal feed that's comprised of stuff you and your friends like. There's also a social aspect, in which you can follow brands, users and groups and see which videos they repost, and you'll be able to share your favorites on Twitter or Facebook.
Seems harmless enough -- hey, it's a free service, so might as well check it out -- but the catch is that you have to own a compatible Samsung smartphone (the Galaxy S3 and higher, Note 3 and higher, Galaxy S III mini and higher and the Mega). If your device is on the list, you'll be able to download it from the Play Store starting today. This exclusionary approach makes the app less enticing, especially since this is in many ways a new social network in which you can share and repost your favorite stuff. And Samsung has to find a way to convince users to switch over from a competing video service to give Milk a try; the company promises exclusive content from its partners, like a couple new series from Funny or Die and Red Bull, but it's still difficult to find a lot of reasons to use this service over YouTube.
On top of that, folks with capped data plans will need to keep a close eye on their usage, especially if streaming video becomes a big part of the commuting experience. As of yet, there's no way to take advantage of offline viewing, so it's not possible to simply download the videos prior to your commute.
Whereas the Milk music streaming service came with a creative circular user interface, Milk Video features a scrollable list of videos in the name of simplicity. Swipe right to dismiss a video you don't want to see, and swipe left to bring up sharing, starring and other options. If you touch the right side of the screen and scroll up or down, you'll be taken to a list of categories you can choose from, as well as the option to search for whatever you fancy. There's also an action button on the top left corner that sends you to a list of users to follow.
If done well, Samsung has a lot of growth potential through forging new partnerships with video providers and getting more people invested in the Milk brand. In fact, the company boasts that the app will learn and get better over time as more people use the service and decide what they want to watch. But do we really need another streaming video option, or will Milk Video just get lost in the mix? Time to check it out and see for yourself -- as long as you already have a Samsung smartphone, that is.