YouTube co-founders silently introduce magazine publishing app, Zeen


YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen have a new project up their sleeves under their parent company, AVOS. Within the last 24 hours, the duo launched a landing page for their latest project, Zeen. AVOS is responsible for acquiring Delicious from Yahoo, and the founder of a Pinterest clone Chinese content site, mei.fm.

Fusible, a technology blog dedicated to discovering the latest news through domain name acquisitions, sales and trademark filings, was the first to notice the project in its early stages. Zeen’s Facebook and Twitter page was activated only hours ago, beginning with the appropriate statement on its Facebook page, “Hello world! You’ll soon be able to discover and create beautiful magazines with us. Secure your username now at http://zeen.com/.”

Aside from its rather cryptic description that merely states, “Discover and create beautiful magazines,” we took a look at the Privacy Policy page where we could glean some insight about the soon-to-be launched site.

From what we gather, Zeen will be a service allowing users to upload third-party content onto personalized “magazines.” We’d like to think of it as a cross between Paper.li and Pinterest. There are a few clues that lead us to this assumption. First, there is a policy that explicitly informs users of adding content onto the site including “links, images, videos, text, sound, comments, notes or tags,” which will be publicly viewable by users.

Second, the policy hints at its intent to use third-party content uploaded on the platform for monetization purposes, possibly like the advertising model current search engines use today. “Our Service contains links to other websites. If you choose to visit an advertiser or third party website, for instance by ‘clicking on’ a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s website. The fact that we link to a website is not an endorsement, authorization or representation of our affiliation with that third party, nor is it an endorsement of their privacy or information security policies or practices. We do not exercise control over third party websites or over the choice of which third party sites are linked to using the Service.”

Finally, Zeen will incorporate a browser bookmark extension, which will be called, “Zeen Bookmarklet.”

Signing into the service will likely be simplified using a third-party social network login and registration, including Facebook Connect. That will be an alternative to signing in with your vanity username, which you can claim on its website right now.

We’re thinking that based on AVOS’ attempt to bring Pinterest to China, and the hints that we’ve laid out above, we could be looking at a social content curation platform that would display a user’s interests in the form of content curated from around the Web, and can be shared with other users.

Of course we’re just speculating what is to come, but The Next Web intends to question Chad Hurley when he speaks at The Next Web Conference later this month. Knowing this, and that Zeen has talked to Martin Bryant on Twitter, we can bet that the official announcement of Zeen’s existence will come at the conference, so stay tuned.


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