An interesting stat I’ve always bought into is that you learn an order of magnitude more about your product after you ship it. For example, only 20 percent of the original Hulu.com code from our beta launch is still in use — we had to rewrite the other 80 percent to adapt to the ever-changing, and often unanticipated, needs of our users. It’s uncanny how users can take features in directions you never thought of, and teach you how to make them more interesting and useful along the way.
To help us learn from user feedback even earlier in our development lifecycle, we’re excited to open up a new Hulu Labs section on the site today. At Hulu Labs, we’ll provide sneak peeks at some of the upcoming releases from our product roadmap, some of which are personal projects and hobbies our devs have been cooking up. From new recommendation algorithms to tools for building custom widgets to a time-based view for browsing your favorite shows, we’ll be sharing a variety of these new creations with you at Hulu Labs and looking forward to your thoughts on how to make these products better.
Headlining our Hulu Labs release today is Hulu Desktop, a new downloadable application that allows you to find and enjoy your favorite Hulu videos in a rich, full-screen computer window that you can control with your mouse and keyboard or any six-button PC or Mac remote control. Hulu Desktop was built by a small group on our engineering team (two devs, one designer, one product manager) who asked themselves one day: how can we make it easier for users to immerse themselves in the great shows and movies Hulu is fortunate to have access to? Our answer was to build a new PC and Mac application that gives users the option to step outside of their browser, keyboard and mouse and into something different. We’ve always aspired to provide the best video viewing experience possible on your “lappity-toppity boxes” and make online video more fun to watch. And working together with our media partners, we hope Hulu Desktop is another positive step towards building a legal, long-lasting service that earns us the right to continue serving you.
As with other Hulu Labs projects, Hulu Desktop is still in beta and undergoing changes, but we’re excited to give you this early look and hear what you think. Please share your feedback with us — the good, the bad, and the ugly — anytime on the Hulu Labs discussion board.