App of the Week: 5by is everyone’s video concierge

devices_iosThere’s a treasure-trove of video out there on the internet, but sometimes, it can be hard to find exactly the right thing to watch at a given time. We all have those times when we have five or 10 minutes to kill, but nobody wants to spend all that time finding a video to watch, only to have no time to actually enjoy it.

5by is an app for iOS and Android that aims to fill those little gaps in everyone’s lives with videos that they find interesting. To do that, the app grabs a few notes about a user’s video preferences, and then, once they’re looking for something to watch, offers up what should be the perfect video for the situation and the amount of time someone has to watch a video.

There are some constants in 5by’s selection: it always seems to be ready to offer up a video for users to watch “On the John,” or those interested in “getting caught up” with what the internet has to offer. Beyond that, there are a bunch of other options, including categories for sports fans, insomniacs and nerds that show up at different times of the day and on different days.

What’s truly remarkable about this app is that it seems like for whatever sort of nebulous video watching mood I’m in, 5by has an answer that’s a few button-presses away, whether it’s a montage of Russian traffic accidents or a tour of someone’s brilliantly-designed house.

unnamedSince it’s built by the same team that brings the world StumbleUpon, it’s no wonder that 5by’s recommendation engine already feels solid. Much like StumbleUpon, it’s easy to get lost in 5by if you’re not careful, and then be left saying “where did that hour go?”

I’ve also found that 5by is a lot less interesting if I’m interested in something in particular. Looking for cool musical covers is easy, but if I want to see what a capella groups have been doing with material from Muse’s latest album, it’s harder to get there with 5by.

Still, when my brain is stuck in a state of “I dunno, what do you want to watch?” 5by is the best way I’ve found to alleviate any boredom.

geekwireapp5by is available as a free download from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

App of the Week is a regular feature of the GeekWire radio show and podcast, airing at 7 p.m. Saturdays on KIRO Radio in Seattle (97.3 FM), except when preempted by live sports. The show runs every weekend on GeekWire.com. You can get every episode using this RSS feed, subscribe in iTunes or find us on Stitcher.

Listen to this week’s segment below or via this MP3 file.

  • Red Russak

    Huge fan of this app, especially the ‘On The John’ option :-)