Finding compelling videos on sites like YouTube can be a lesson in patience as you slog through video after video of mindless soliloquies, cats on pianos or music videos featuring stills of photos in an endless progression. If you want to avoid this mundane content and find videos more suited for your interests, then you should check out 5by. The video curation service builds a profile based on your interests and sends you videos that you would enjoy. It launched as a web-only service last year and rolled out an iOS app earlier this year.
The app launches with a series of categories based on the time of day, your possible mood and common activities, like lying in bed. Tapping on a category such as "Insomniacs" brings you to a sub-category screen that breaks down the videos into distinct groups like "Extreme Sports," "True Story" and others. Tapping on a sub-category will start playing a video curated from services like YouTube or Vimeo. If you don't like the selection, you can swipe to move to the next clip in the queue. Before you advance ahead, remember to "dislike" the video, so 5by will remember this preference when choosing videos in the future.
While watching a video, you can comment on it, like it on Facebook or react using one of three emojis. These emojis let other 5by users know whether you laughed at a video, hated a video or loved the video. You also can share the clip via email, messaging, or social networks like Facebook and Twitter. There's even an option to copy the URL of the video to the clipboard.
The strong point of 5by is its ability to pull down videos based on the profile questions you answer when you first run the app and your interactions with the videos while you watch them. The app is owned by StumbleUpon, which acquired 5by in September of 2013.
5by's curation worked moderately well for me, with most videos providing entertainment in the categories that I selected in my profile. There were a handful of clunkers that I tagged with the dislike emoji, so I am hoping those videos will disappear from my stream. Just like any curation service, it gets better the more you use it, so you will want to respond to as many videos as possible to get the best possible experience.
5by is perfect for those free moments when you want some entertainment and don't want to play Flappy Bird. Open 5by and let the app serve up a new video that you might enjoy. 5by for the iPhone and iPad is available for free from the iOS App Store.