One of the things I’m most delighted by with respect to the 9GS blog is that the people who contact me through the blog are universally decent and smart. Even when someone is “hyping” me on some product or music, they do it in exactly the right way: always polite, always explaining why they’re contacting me (and thus showing that they “get” the values of 9GS), etc.

All of that is preamble to talk about a very cool company that recently turned me on to their service called Overlay.tv.

In a nutshell, it allows you to create “overlays” on videos which act as hyperlinks.

Here’s a link to a Guided by Voices video/. As you can see, while you’re watching the video little circles float around the screen. These are hyperlinks for – natch – GbV albums, etc. Clicking on them gives you more details, and the opportunity to link to Amazon to buy the records.

This is certainly needed technology.

However, there are a couple of issues:

First, they should allow people to embed the videos.

Second, and more importantly, when the linked items are not naturally connected to something going on within the video (i.e. a link to a record as opposed to, say, a specific article of clothing someone in the video is wearing) the links need to be less intrusive. People are not thrilled that every TV show they watch has crawls and other things going on underneath, so making that even more emphatic ain’t going to win any fans.

Those slight qualms aside, I think this has massive potential. For me, specifically, I could see using it in an educational context. My videos for Artists House, for instance, could have links embedded that would take viewers to additional resources related to the content.

For bands, I see them – judiciously – using this to alert fans of any number of things. For instance, an artist could have someone video tape one of their shows, and use overlay.tv to create links to a podcast about the show, to the album where the song appears, to the venue, etc. etc.

Very cool. Thanks for the tip, Faisal!


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