Quick Spoiler Alert: I love the Squrl app for iPad and iOS. It’s the best new (ish) iPad app I’ve seen this year – and easily the best app for using in tandem with AirPlay and Apple TV.
Squrl is all about videos. Discovering good video content from a wide range of all the best sources, organizing it, sharing it, and seeing what others are sharing. Here’s a little more intro type information from its App Store page:
Squrl is a clever way to collect and organize video from many different providers, in one easy to use app.
• Have you ever wanted to collect video from many different websites in one place?
• Are you tired of hunting through a half dozen or more iPad apps to view your videos?
You’ll always know where to find your videos, no matter where they are on the web, with Squrl. You can even discover new content through your network of friends!
Access all your favorite videos, movies, and subscriptions to your favorite shows with Squrl. Organizing is simple and you’re alerted when new videos are available to watch.
Squrl lets you create a basic profile – pretty much just your name and an avatar image. By setting up a free account you get access to the service online in a browser as well. You can also connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts within the app – for use when sharing videos from the app.
You can install and use a Squrl It button in your browser bookmark bar. Use it any time you spot a video you like online, and it will be instantly added to your queue (of videos you want to watch) in the app and on you main page in a browser.
The app offers three main sections: My Videos, Discover, and Community.
My Videos is – as the name would suggest – the section for videos you collect. It has four sub-sections:
Queue – this is where you can quickly place videos you want to watch, via the Squrl It button within the app or in your browser.
Galleries – here you’ll find galleries (like parent folders) to group your videos in. You can create your own galleries, and import existing ones created by others as well. Within galleries, you organize videos into collections (like sub-folders). So, for instance, you could create a gallery called Sports and then have collections in it for basketball, football, baseball, tennis and so on.
Whenever you squrl a video you are prompted to either add it your queue or an existing gallery, or create a new gallery to place it in. You can follow whatever style you like in naming your galleries and collections, but the app cleverly shows you a list of keywords related to the video you are squrling, so you can use those and save on typing if you like.
Recent Activity – shows what you’ve been up to lately – what you’ve squrled, what you’ve watched.
Messages – from other Squrl users.
The Discover section offers one-tap shortcuts to 14 leading providers of video, including YouTube, NetFlix, Vimeo, Hulu, TED, Revision3, Viddler, Funny or Die, ESPN, The Onion, qik, and Twitvid.
The Community section offers three sub-sections with more cool options to help you discover great video content:
Activity – shows what people are watching right now.
Videos – offers featured galleries – things like: twit.tv subscriptions, Current Revison 3 shows, Currently on Funny or Die, Critically Acclaimed TV, Official Music Videos, Tech Leaders, Music Videos and lots more.
Curators – follow top curators or those with similar video interests.
The content. So many videos, from so many of the best sources, all in one app. Just messing around and getting to know the app last night I went from episodes of ‘The Lebrons’ – Lebron James’ new animated series …
To ESPN for some sports news and interviews …
To Bill Gates and others from the superb TED Talks …
To Funny or Die and Tekzilla on Revision3 …
Squrl is feature-packed but easy to use and get around. I’ve only been using the app for less than a full day and I’ve watched a bunch of great videos, and got lots of videos in my queue. I’ve also created galleries for Music, TV Shows, Comedy, Tech Videos, Sports, and TED Talks – with some collections underneath those. Basically I’ve already got enough good content lined up to not care what’s on TV the rest of the week.
Support for AirPlay Video! Now I’ve got stacks of cool content that I can play on the iPad or switch to the big screen with just a couple of taps.
In every listing of videos within the app, there is a little acorn symbol at the top left of video thumbnails shown – and you can just tap that icon to add items to your queue as well. A very nice little touch.
It’s social. You can follow people and see their galleries – and people can follow you and see yours.
The app is solid. I’ve seen zero crashes or issues in using it thus far.
It could perhaps add further social elements – like the ability to comment on others’ videos, but this is hardly an urgent need.
As I said at the top, I love this app.
It gives you access to all the best videos from all the best sources in a single app. It makes it easy to organize all your favorites from its disparate range of sources, create your own sets of them and your queue of what you want to watch next, share what you’re watching or sets you’ve made, and offers excellent options for discovering new content.
If you like watching videos on your iPad, or on Apple TV, or both, then Squrl is rapidly going to become your best friend.
Thanks to Robert Scoble for doing a great interview and demo with one of Squrl’s founders. That got me interested in the app – and I’m so glad to have discovered it.
Here’s an App Store link for Squrl; it’s a free app and also a universal app, designed for use on both iPad and iPhone.