May 21 2011
Chatting online is nothing new. Video chatting has been around for a while too. People are well accustomed to downloading a chat utility, installing it, and chatting away with their friends and family. In more recent times many of us have noticed the in-browser chat options. Here you don’t even need to download anything. So long as flash is installed you can chat with your friends from any browser.
Skype has been the forerunner in the online video chat world. They’ve helped connect families and friends with their convenient and free video calls. Grandparents around the world await their Sunday evening call from their kids to see the grandkids. This of course requires walking your grandparents through the steps of installing the utility and getting it up and running. It’s quite a hassle. Usually by around the tenth time and with a half hour of personally provided tech support beforehand, it all works out. If you’ve ever been through this routine remember the big three of computer troubleshooting- turn off the fire wall, turn off antivirus software, and reboot. (And please don’t forget to turn those back on once you isolate the problem!)
Connecting the dots and providing an in browser chat and video chat service is FaceFlow. FaceFlow is a free multipurpose video chat utility that works entirely in your browser- no downloads required.
The core FaceFlow service is to chat and then video chat with your friends. Both people can register for an account, add each other as friends, and then chat away. It starts with a regular chat sessions, and once chatting you can invite them to a video conference. If they accept then you can continue your conversation by video call. See the intro video below for an example.
FaceFlow’s service doesn’t stop there though. Let’s say you’re chatting and decide you’d like to bring another person into the conversation. You can readily invite them to the conversation and the three of you can continue the conversation together. You’re allowed to add up to four people per conference call. Chat sessions come with the added ability to watch YouTube videos as well. This is a fun way to share content with each other while you’re conversing. Note that there’s no charge for any of these services.
Now this would be about as far as most chat and video chat utilities would normally go, but FaceFlow took it a step further. They noticed that there are some lonely people out there that may not have anyone to chat with. So they built in the option to chat with someone new. It’s like Chatroulette but lends itself towards better behavior of chat participants. The pretext is that if you connect with them you can add each other as friends and continue a relationship. There’s nothing explicit that enforces good etiquette but the setting where you meet can have an effect on how people behave. For the less adventurous you can meet new people by written chat, and save video calls for people you know.
FaceFlow recently reported a 50,000 strong following of those who’ve converted to browser video chat. Make no mistake- soon there will be no more downloadable chat utilities. All of them will be in-browser. FaceFlow is amongst the first to offer a fully functional free in browser chat and video chat service. (Say that three times fast!) They’re staged to become the preferred way for people to chat online.