October 27th, 2009 by

The most popular sites on the web today are sites which let you do almost anything. You can reach out to almost anyone, anywhere, and satisfy all of your desires. Within a few clicks these sites, many of which encourage you to use them as your home page, will help you find out what’s happening in the world. You can make vacation plans, order any product under the sun via credit card to be shipped to your front door, watch your favorite sports teams, order tickets to the opera, or find out the latest restaurant reviews. They even help you find someone to love and who might love you back (or at least help you in satisfying some of your baser instincts).

But there can really only be so many one-stop for everything-you-ever-wanted sites. The very nature of these websites is consolidation, or, to put it a different way, cannibalization. The larger ones regularly consume the smaller until only giants remain- websites so bloated with content and links that they can barely move. They clutter themselves up with advertisements, personalized sidebars, customizable skins, and cutesy seasonal themes. They’re the equivalent of eating a cheese-filled hot-dog wrapped in bacon and then deep fried in beer batter: sure, it’s all pretty good stuff, but it’s just too much to handle at once.

As a reaction to these sites, the internet has evolved. Interspersed among the giants we now find smaller sites that are cleaner and more efficient and serve a single purpose instead of many. Dubbed “single-serving websites”, they have gained serious momentum in the past few years, and with good reason: they’re easy to explain to people, (“Just go to ‘IsCaliforniaOnFire.com’ to find out if there’s any wildfires in CA right now.”), and therefore easy to share. They aren’t trying to be everything to everyone and compete with the giants. While some are gimmicky and subnormal, many are very easy to use, exist to serve a clear purpose, and do what they do quite well.

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Among this new breed of single-serving website, you’ll find SafeShare.tv standing on firm ground. The purpose of SafeShare.tv is to take a YouTube video link and provide a family-friendly link. How is this link family-friendly you may ask? It pulls out the links to related videos which may be non family friendly, which display after the initial video completes. YouTube already offers offensive video filtering, but it’s not very good. SafeShare.tv is probably most useful to educators or parents who want to share a YouTube link with kids. If in the event they choose to exercise good supervision skills, SafeShare is there. Shielding young, innocent eyes from accidentally beholding the staggeringly strange world of furries. (Which should be beheld on purpose, if at all).

The purpose of SafeShare.tv is simple, and using it is equally easy. You simply search YouTube until you find a video you want to share and then copy the link address from your address bar. Then, go to SafeShare.tv and input the link address in the box where it says “Enter the YouTube video link”. Then you press the big friendly button that says “Generate safe link”.  It emits a new safeshare link that you can then share with friends, family, or even complete strangers you meet online.

If you have any questions about what’s behind SafeShare.tv, or are suspicious of any ulterior motives, they’ve actually written an FAQ. I guess it’s better to over explain things than leave room for misinterpretation.

All joking aside, there is a pretty neat little function included in the SafeShare site, which is the ability to crop the video you’re linking. You can set a start and stop time for the video, so instead of showing a whole ten minutes clip of, say, Carl Sagan explaining how the cosmos were created, you can focus on just the part where he waxes on about apple pie. This feature works well and serves as an alternate reason to use this site, for those who aren’t into the whole family-friendly thing.

The two features SafeShare doesn’t have that I wish it did are the ability to embed SafeShare videos within a website and to manually set the start and stop times. If SafeShare videos could be embeded, we would have featured it right here for all the world to see. The other feature I’d like is related to how you set the start/stop times of a video when you’re showing just a portion of it. It makes you play the video and press the buttons when you’d like to start and stop it. That’s fine, but I’d also like to be able to type in the start and stop times, or manually adjust them later. This can be done by editing the URL directly, but most non web developers won’t think to do this.

As more single-serving sites pop up every day, they’ll be divided into three categories: sites that are useful and well-designed (NearbyTweets.com, Stopwat.ch, DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com, WhatTimeIsItThere.info), sites that are purely for the purpose of entertainment (HowManyPeopleAreInSpaceRightNow.com, LetMeGoogleThatForYou.com), and sites that are downright goofy but might be worth a slight chuckle (r33b.net, InstantRimshot.com, HowIsBabbyFormed.com). SafeShare.tv is straightforward, solves what I imagine is a real annoyance for some people, and sits firmly in the useful category. They should feel pretty good about that.

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