The site: HapYak.com
How it works: HapYak users can create drawings, record narration, and add comments directly into any video from YouTube, Vimeo, and other video services. Videos can be shared with the site’s audience or kept private for watching by only the people you invite to see your video. The public part of the site is heavy on training videos, how-tos and other useful pieces to watch. Of course, there are plenty of just cute or silly videos, but, there’s also a lot that are surprisingly helpful.
Is it worth using?: The site offers mild entertainment with its enhanced take on the typical viral Internet video. If it just offered that, however, it would be a pleasant place to visit, but not a particularly useful tool. HapYak also has practical uses as videos can be modified for educational purposes or to make relevant information more clear.
Because of its privacy features—which allow you to share videos only with people you invite to see them—HapYak has some practical applications that could work well for businesses, educators or anyone just looking to add information to a video. Imagine adding comments and your own modifications to a video of Rachel Ray making meatloaf or sharing a video on how to change a tire while adding your own comments specific to your car. HapYak.com is easy-to-use and the tools allow you to make videos funnier or, if you’re feeling ambitious, more useful.
What doesn’t work: The only challenge on HapYak is that when you first visit the site, it’s not easy to know exactly what you are supposed to do. At first glance, the site seems like a place to watch modified videos—not one where you can modify them yourself. Using the site is not hard, but, if you don’t know its full power, you may end up missing out on its best feature — adding annotations to videos yourself.
Is it worth it?: HapYak plans to charge corporate and institutional customers, but the public site is completely free, so it’s a fabulous deal for individual users.
Daniel B. Kline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @dbkbdc.