Review: Qik - Quickly Share Mobile Video

Your cell phone or smartphone's camera probably shoots lousy quality video. With Qik, you can share that lousy video with the world - and, surprisingly, it's a lot of fun.

Qik is a social networking tool that gives the cell phone video camera a reason for existing. With it, you can shoot tiny vids of your day's wanderings, then share them with the world. It's simple and easy: a Twitter for those who prefer video.

Before you sign in, view Qik's list of supported phones. If your phone is on there, you're set…unless you have the iPhone.

The Qik team lists the iPhone as supported, even though you need a jailbroken iPhone to make it work. Apparently, the iPhone's camera really is capable of shooting video, no matter what Apple says, but until Apple decides to offer video as a feature, no video apps will make it into the app section of the iTunes Store.

While we would have preferred to use an iPhone for testing, we used an HTC Touch Diamond. Start by accessing the Qik site through your phone's browser, then sign up for an account. Qik will send you a text message with a link that lets you download the Qik application. Saving and installing it is a quick process.

Start up the Qik app and you'll see that the developers have kept the controls nice and simple. Before you begin recording, you'll want to select the option to give your video a name and perhaps a description. Then, tap the Stream button to begin recording. Tap it again when you're ready to stop.

That's really all there is to it. While there are other options you can set, we kept everything at the default level, trusting Qik to give us the best possible video quality for the connection.

As you record video, the app uploads your footage to the Qik site where others can view it (assuming you've set the video as public, not private). Streaming isn't perfectly live; there are several seconds of lag time in most videos. Try to watch a live video on the homepage and you'll probably find this out.

Still, we like how Qik has taken all the work out of online video sharing. Simply record what you want and Qik does the rest, uploading your video and making it accessible from your own account page.

If you want to see a few sample videos we shot while testing, click here. We learned that cell phone video works best in small groups, not large crowds, and that you need to move your camera extremely slowly to avoid motion blur.

From your personal Qik page you can connect your videos to your Twitter account, so that Twitter friends can follow your adventures. The site also partners with Mogulus, Justin.tv, and Pownce.

You can also subscribe to other Qik'ers from your personal page (such as Digg co-founder Kevin Rose) and see which other members are following you.

The Qik team is trying to position Qik not just as a social tool, but as a business one. That's a little hard to see. Live video, as mentioned, doesn't always come through smoothly, and most cell phone video is too low quality for the boardroom.

For your personal time, though, Qik is a great way to stay in touch, share your travels, and be the movie star you've always wanted to be.


video, social networking, video conferencing, camera, mobile video