Summer TV is the pits. Other than the Olympics, there just isn’t much worth watching. Like roughly 80 percent of iPhone users, I don’t actually look at the TV all that much anyway. I’m holding my iOS devices, checking my email, playing games or chatting with friends. Various services have been vying for our attention like social media check-in app, GetGlue, or second screen apps that try to weave a social context into viewing. I like these services as it’s fun to keep track of what I’ve seen and maybe check out the chatter on Twitter. But they don’t hold my attention much longer than the commercials.
Yahoo! took aim at the second screen market with the acquisition of IntoNow last year. It has a Soundhound-like ability to analyze a snippet of what’s playing and pinpoint not just the show, but the specific episode if it aired some time in the last week. I could check-in, post my show to Facebook and lurk on the discussion threads. Like many, I ignored the TV discovery option; even with 300 with channels, television isn’t like music – it’s too finite. IntoNow, was soon filed away in my entertainment folder not getting much love.
News of the latest update, however, had me launch the app last night with great anticipation. Yahoo! has stripped away some of the inane stranger-chatter and added some amazing new features that captivated me. The app now offers something ridiculously fun to do during commercials. With the tap of a button the new Capit option captures a moment and freezes it. It actually captures several frames and lets users chose the exact moment they are looking for. Whether it’s Michael Phelps winning his 20th Olympic medal or Jon Stewart carping about Mitt Romney I can grab a still, add a (hopefully) witty caption in big block letters and create my very own Internet meme. It took me 70 minutes to get through The Daily Show’s half-hour broadcast, but I’ve never enjoyed it more. You can, of course, share your Capits with the IntoNow community and on social networks.
Another clever way to keep our eyes on some screen when we might otherwise be fetching a snack is the new Music Sync feature. It identifies the songs in a show and offers links to iTunes and YouTube. They’ve even included trivia games. IntoNow also has other, less flashy, perks including closed captioning and contextually-relevant news. If, for example, you watched the U.S. women take gold in gymnastics, you might see related news stories and maybe an interview with Gabby Douglas.
Yahoo! shows here that it can think outside of the box, while we’re staring into it and I hope they keep it up. To be successful in this market, constantly revamping engagement tactics is essential. The update is live for iOS now and is coming to Android some time in the next month.