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Lycos launches video & social-networking tool

Service links YouTube, MySpace & Google Video

Lycos is set to go after a portion of the popular online-video and social-networking spaces today by launching a service that lets users create video playlists composed of footage from several websites.

Users of the US-based service, called Lycos Mix, will be able to select video from YouTube, Google Video and MySpace to create playlists. The free service, currently in beta testing, uses Lycos technology that allows both real-time chat and permanent comments.

Lycos Mix users will create their playlists by going to the three video sites and selecting clips, then linking them to the playlist. Lycos has also compiled its own playlists for categories such as arts, comedy, food and music. Lycos internally tested Mix and in the process created the site's first 1,000 playlists, said Lycos product manager Eric Austrew.

The service lets participants make their playlists public, which allows anyone to add a video to the list. Alternatively, they can make the lists private, so only the playlist creator can add videos. A moderated option allows anyone to submit videos but gives the playlist owner posting authority.

Within about two months, Lycos hopes to announce studio partnerships that will allow the service to offer licensed content, said chief operating officer Brian Kalinowski.

Mix isn't Lycos' first foray into internet social networking. In November 2006 the company launched Lycos Cinema, which permits users to simultaneously watch and chat about feature films provided by Lycos partners.

Kalinowski sees the distinction between the services in Mix's emphasis on using video from other websites, while Cinema users pick from static content.

Kalinowski sees Lycos' service as different from other social networking sites because it draws attention to specific content rather than a user profile, he said. The service's ability to aggregate content from assorted video Web sites also differentiates Lycos' offering, Austrew said.

"You can only talk about what is on YouTube on YouTube; you can only talk about what is on MySpace on MySpace," Kalinowski added.

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