Why Instagram & YouTube are so alike

Ben Brooks:

Since acquiring YouTube, how has Google made YouTube better? The best quality videos are on Vimeo. The funniest are usually on Funny or Die…

…YouTube still can’t playback video smoothly, it still takes forever to load, it still looks like crap, it still has the worst — most hate filled — comments on the web. It is still a flash laden nightmare.

Fair point, and I’d go even further: Facebook has the potential for a even larger product misstep with Instagram than Google made with YouTube. Facebook has a far more closed ecosystem than Google’s; they’d potentially really gut Instagram’s original intent by wrapping it into Facebook’s UI (which I fear they may at some point do.) At least the wide open, free flowing video + ad crazy nature of Youtube was a more natural fit with Google’s business model.

Ben does exaggerate Youtube’s weaknesses however. Great quality videos are to be found at Vimeo, but ‘best’ is a stretch. Youtube’s content still dwarfs that of Vimeo, and publishers overwhelmingly send content there as a first choice. Vimeo offers a similar playback experience to YouTube as well.

I think the key worry, which Ben nails, is product stagnation. First YouTube, then Flickr…could Instagram be the next to stop evolving?