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Remember Clik, that cool little app that let you throw video onto any screen with a browser? Well, they're here at SXSW, exclusively demoing three new apps for attendees — CrowdTube, Tracks and Ethershock — at a tent right outside the Convention Center in downtown Austin. We were lucky enough to check them out with Ted Livingston, Founder and CEO of Clik, and get some hands-on time with each.
The first app, CrowdTube, is based on an already-familiar use of the app — crowdsourcing YouTube videos on a big screen. But now they've added a new twist: voting. "We wanted to let people DJ South by Southwest," Livingston said.
So Clik set up a ridiculous 10 x 17-foot screen on the street right outside the convention center. Users (and would-be DJs) can scan in and vote their favorite videos up or down to choose the next clip that plays on the massive display. Once the song that's currently on finishes playing, the video with the highest number of votes starts up and the queue resets. We tried it ourselves, and it's awesomely fun. (Plus we can't wait to see people enjoying CrowdTube after it gets dark!) Check out our video at the end of our post to see the app in action.
The next app, rightly called Tracks, leverages 8tracks.com's deep database of tunes to let Clik users control song mixes right on their phones. Clik in to a display using your smartphone, browse to a playlist you like (it's prepopulated from the 8tracks app for now) and tap to start it up. Then walk away, start cooking, do whatever you like. Imagine: Tracks now makes it unnecessary to bring along your speakers on a trip. You can just throw the app onto that screen in your hotel room and enjoy your custom playlist from there.
Finally Ethershock, which enjoys the stature of being the first game for the Clik platform, runs just like the classic Space Invaders. But now you control things with your smartphone, while gameplay is on the big screen—no separate console and controller needed.
Though originally touted as an app itself, it's worth remembering that Clik is actually first and foremost a platform for smaller programs. It's a technology that enables unlimited users to "Clik in" and share in the fun of an activity — whether that's crowdsourcing the next video that comes up on the big screen at a party, or jumping in on a multiplayer game that's set up with the app. Livingston says it's incredibly easy to develop for Clik, too—in fact, he says, the three concept apps they brought along to SXSW were each cobbled together by his developers in a matter of days.
The beauty of it all is that the only thing you need is a smartphone with a data plan. And pshh—who doesn't have that by now? Clik only pushes commands to your browser while all the heavy lifting is done using your Internet connection, so the action is almost instantaneous—and the app's potential, almost endless.
"We like to think of Clik as the remote of the future," Livingston said to me. "Imagine walking into a party with your smartphone—something you have on you, anyway—and being able to control everything with it. It's great."