Back in 2009 while watching videos online, Chris and I had an idea. At the time we had to sit on voice chat to synchronize our viewing, calling out "3, 2, 1, GO" and hitting play at approximately the same time. It worked in the loosest of definitions. Any time we needed to pause there was yet another process of counting down, and even then it was wise to check each others' times before starting again to see if we'd fallen out of sync. Being the engineers we are, we decided our lives needed an app that would do all that work for us.
We surveyed the technological landscape and, though we could certainly find ways to accomplish what we had dreamt, we decided it wasn't quite time for us to build something like this that would be easy enough for both us and our friends to use. As best as we could guess, if the system wasn't readily accessible without downloads for the average person, it'd only be a tool for the two of us, and honestly what were the chances we'd still like each other after a project like that anyway?
Fast forward to the summer of 2014. Technology had continued advancing (as it tends to do), and we had continued watching, biding our time. One Saturday morning Chris and I started a simple site which we called GroupVideo. Within 14-16 hours we'd finished our work:
We basked in our engineering glory, sharing the project with our friends and family. We were satisfied, but our friends weren't. The feature requests came quickly, and within 2 weeks we started to realize we had created something that appealed to more than just we two mild-mannered developers.
The idea morphed almost as quickly as it had been developed, and soon we were discussing a grander plan that offered this player as a service to anyone who had a browser. It wouldn't be the first website to offer this, so we discussed ways that we could make our offering truly different. Then it came to us, we should be doing this across every possible device. Why not watch videos on your smartphone with your friend from across the country? What should stop you from enjoying a music video on your Xbox while your family watched on their TV back home?
The answer to those questions was obvious, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to do those things, and there was no reason we shouldn't be the ones to make it possible. Two years later and we're close enough to that goal that we're ready to start taking the training wheels off and get the public to kick the tires.
So here we find ourselves! Today we officially announce the public beta of SyncScene, the place where we hope to become the easiest way to watch videos together. There are going to be bugs, and things may look odd at times, but we're going to be working hard to smooth the experience and add features that make streaming videos easier, faster, and more social. We thank you for checking us out and we hope you stay along for the ride.
- Andrew, Chris, and the rest of the SyncScene Team