Joost launches — will anyone care?

So Joost says that it is now finally open to the public (Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee and Kara Swisher at BoomTown have the details, including interviews with CEO Mike Volpi), after a long beta program that started as invitation-only. But the streaming peer-to-peer TV project from the guys behind Kazaa and Skype — Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom — has effectively been open for some time now. Although it took an invitation, anyone who was a beta tester had unlimited numbers of them.

joost500×375.jpgI have to admit that some of my enthusiasm for and interest in Joost has waned since I took part in the early beta, invitations for which were in hot demand (I wrote a piece about Joost for the Globe awhile back, which I cross-posted here). I kept up with the beta updates for awhile, but then gradually lost interest. Why? A bunch of reasons. The player is a resource hog, for one thing. But mostly it was the content. I didn’t mind checking it out now and then, but there was nothing compelling. As far as I can tell, Joost still hasn’t solved that problem.

One of the interesting things that Joost promised, but hasn’t really done anything with so far, is the ability for developers to use the Joost API to add widgets of various kinds, as Liz describes in her post. Apart from great content, this seems like the killer feature to me — ways to build in social networking (other than just chat) that can pull people in and make them want to use the thing. So far that appeal is missing, at least for me, although MG Siegler at ParisLemon still thinks that Joost is da bomb.