Archive for the ‘Video Conferencing’ Category
As of today, users of the web-based instant messaging client Meebo can instantly open a live video conferencing session with each other, neatly integrated into the Meebo chat window.
From its launch in September 2005, Meebo has developed into a full-fledged multi-protocol chat client. In the very beginning it impressed heavy chat users a lot because of its Ajaxy look and feel and of course because it offered web-based access to the four leading IM networks from one interface. After that, the Meebo developers started their mission to adding numerous new features:
– Jabber support, allowing Gtalk users
– password encryption
– universal sign-on
– extensive localization
– public chat rooms
– iPhone app
– file transfer
– Firefox add-on
Ashod Apakian, the extremely talented developer behind Wigiwigi, just made an extremely easily accessible, multi-party video conference room service available that website owners can embed on their pages: it’s called Viper Room and its quality is very impressive, to say the least.
The base functionality of Viper Room is to let you see the live webcam streams of up to four people in a video-conferencing room.
Note that Viper Room does video only: to also hear the people in the room, you’ll have to set up a multi-party voice conference, for example using Skype. The rationale behind this deliberate decision is that voice-conferencing is already handled well by other services. It’s really the video conferencing part that is was missing.
Update: On June 19th audio was added to Viper Room: click-and-hold the loudspeaker icon in the top-right corner of the Viper Room panel and you’ll be able to speak. Keep the mouse button pressed down even while listening to your room mates to have a lively conversation.
So here’s Viper Room, offering very quick access to a shared video conferencings room—no sign-up required. Just go to the Viper Room website and you’re good to go. For those interested: Viper Room is based on Adobe Flash.
Viper Room basicallly comes in two versions:
There’s a generic version hosted on the Viper Room website, which lets you create a conferencing room on the fly with any room ID you desire: just make up any name, type it in and press Enter . The room exists for as long as there are people in the room. I’ve been using this version over the past couple of days with several of my friends on the web and everybody was amazed at the quality.
Then, just a few minutes ago, Ashod pinged me to tell me that he’s made another fully customized version available, with a fixed room ID determined by the website owner and that can be embedded on any website. I inserted the HTML object code here in this blog post, just to demonstrate how easy it is to make this work:
(HTML code removed because it generated a problematic error message on the MeBeam website)
Now imagine how this could work to communicate with visitors of your website: you could invite them into a live multi-person demonstration of your service. You could do the voice part by phone, by VoIP, or by any other service.
I’m also thinking this could be very cool for communication among larger teams: misunderstandings are much more easily captured from facial expressions than through typed chat or even voice.
Please use the comments for ideas how this very practical solution can be put to good use. Ashod welcomes constructive feedback very much. He promised me he’d raise the number of slots in a room to 8 (and up to a maximum of 32) as soon as the first inevitable glitches have been ironed out. Expect kick, ban and other administrative controls as well.
For those who want a disposable Viper Room of their own:
<object width="660px" height="520px" id="vroom" align="middle"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" ></param><param name="quality" value="high" ></param><param name="scale" value="exactfit" ></param><param name="movie" value="http://www.mebeam.com/uploads/Main/mebeam.swf"></param><param name="flashvars" value="room=cleverclogs&bordercolor=0xd0e0f0&backcolor=0xf3f6ff&menubordercolor=0xaaccff&menutextbgcolor=0xd0e0ff&menutextfgcolor=0x6060c0" ></param><embed src="http://www.mebeam.com/uploads/Main/mebeam.swf" flashvars="room=cleverclogs&bordercolor=0xd0e0f0&backcolor=0xf3f6ff&menubordercolor=0xaaccff&menutextbgcolor=0xd0e0ff&menutextfgcolor=0x6060c0" quality="high" scale="exactfit" width="660px" height="520px" name="vroom" align="middle" allowScriptAccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"></embed></object>
Given the positive response this post is receiving, I’m including a button for the digg that someone submitted: