Tim Walker: Vimeo feels like Pepsi technology, the second player in a small field

The Couch Surfer: Vimeo is beautiful like an Apple computer, with a crisply-designed interface

Share
Related Topics

I can spend whole mornings searching for dumb, hilarious, charming and/or breathtaking video clips to share with friends and
Independent readers.

The site doesn't actually have a market share to match other YouTube competitors such as, say, Dailymotion. But Vimeo is beautiful like an Apple computer, with a crisply-designed interface that reminds you just how cluttered and haphazard its biggest rival can be. At YouTube you have to swat away endless ads, just like the security software pop-ups that plague PCs. Vimeo emphasises quality of service, not mass appeal. Its demographic is artsy – music video directors or graphic designers, not teens filming happy slaps on their phones. Among the tastemakers who regularly launch their latest promos on the site are Kanye West, Lykke Li and Beck.

Last week I met John Lilly, CEO of the not-for-profit Mozilla, which is responsible for Firefox – the web's most popular browser besides Microsoft's notoriously inadequate Internet Explorer. Firefox has always been sleeker, more efficient and user-friendly than the market leader. Lilly used to work for Apple; so do the two companies, both lagging Microsoft in different sectors, have anything else in common? "We're both in second place, and we both have particularly passionate fans," he agrees, adding that both are also aligned in their attitude to the web. For Mozilla and Apple, it's imperative to nudge Microsoft and its browser "up to snuff", so that the internet can be free to develop as it should, and to give its users the full benefit of that development.

Microsoft might do great box office, but Firefox and Apple enjoy the critical acclaim. They're not simply products, they're anti-corporate lifestyle choices (despite Apple's multi-billion dollar business). Like Vimeo, their alternative appeal makes their users feel cooler than those who stick with their more successful rivals – and all three simply seem better than the competition. Which I guess means that comparing them to Pepsi is problematic in at least one sense: Pepsi tastes like a lick of Coke's armpit.

****

In the run-up to the Academy Awards, New York magazine published a lengthy piece by Mark Harris about the trail of awards dinners and photo opportunities that leads the nominees to Oscar night. Though George Clooney was never likely to beat Jeff Bridges to the Best Actor statuette, there was, Harris notes, at least one title that the star of Up In The Air had a chance of snatching from its incumbent in 2010. Clooney's status in Hollywood had been bolstered by his involvement in a telethon to raise funds for Haiti following the earthquake there in January.

"There's always one actor who the industry wants representing it," Harris writes. "Not necessarily the highest grosser or the hottest star, but the most natural leader, the guy who figures out what Hollywood should be doing. For 15 years, that's been Tom Hanks." Now, movie insiders suggested, "Clooney [has] been elected the industry's new class president."

And yet, at the Oscars ceremony itself, it was Hanks who set a responsible tone, presenting the award for Best Picture with a brief, well-turned introduction (which may, granted, have reflected the fact that the ceremony was over-running, rather than his natural concision). Hanks's reputation will only be further enhanced as Pacific, the 10-part Second World War drama miniseries that he and Steven Spielberg have produced as a follow-up to Band of Brothers, hits US airwaves this week.

Clooney, by contrast, looked sullen throughout the evening, especially when he was being mocked by hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. He even displayed his hip flask to reporters on the red carpet: if he wasn't going to win, he might as well get wasted. Not exactly prefect-worthy behaviour. Of course, it later emerged that Clooney's frowns were the star fooling around, with the hosts' complicity; no doubt the flask, too, was a wheeze. But that still makes him seem more like class clown than class president. Can Hanks consider himself re-elected?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Clean energy should be our mission to the moon

Martin Rees
Angela Merkel and David Cameron say goodbye in the Bundeskanzleramt after their meeting in Berlin, Germany, 29 May 2015  

The complacency of Europhiles could lose them the referendum

Steve Richards
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral