The obvious question that came to my mind when I was thinking about embedded Flash VoIP applets is "what about Flash video conferencing applets that do both voice & video?" Imagine simply visiting a website, and initiating an ad-hoc videoconference with other visitors to that same site. I should mention that there already exists tons of Flash video applications used by popular sites such as YouTube and LiveLeak. The video codecs at least exist within the Flash player. Though, YouTube uses buffering that isn't real-time, so Flash-based videoconferencing would most likely use a different codec that performs better during real-time communication.
In any event, I knew it wouldn't be long before someone took Flash VoIP to the next level and offered Flash videoconferencing. Apparently, SightSpeed is the first company to do so with an announcement being made today. At CES SightSpeed will announce an easy-to-use, no-download version of its video chat service, called "SightSpeed Light," that will run on a variety of online social networks, including those based on Google's forthcoming OpenSocial platform. This has a lot of implications and possibilities for any type of social networking site, interactive blogs, dating sites, political sites, online forums, and more.
Imagine going to a very popular news article on NYTimes.com about Obama overtaking Hillary in the national polls. Naturally both Obama and Hillary supporters will visit this web page. The Flash application could allow for instant ad-hoc videoconferences between the web visitors to trash talk about Obama's recent surge. Obama supporters can gloat and Hillary supporters can point to why Obama doesn't have the experience to try and woo some Obama supporters to Hillary's side. Or the web page could simply create separate video chat rooms to keep the two sides from having a "videoconferencing flame war". I'm sure someone will come up with a slang term for that one. Having ad-hoc video conferences based on the specific article/web page would require large web sites with tons of visitors, but that's just one possible use of Flash videoconferencing. Websites could have "general" video chat rooms that are not specific to a particular webpage. Of course, online forums with a special interest (cars, sports, etc.) are an obvious good fit, as are dating sites where you want to have 1-on-1 video conversations.
Here's the press release:
SIGHTSPEED INTRODUCES VIDEO-CHAT WIDGET FOR OPENSOCIAL WEB SITES
"SightSpeed Light" Will Provide Simple, No-Download Version Entry Point to Award-Winning SightSpeed Services
Will Run on OpenSocial Sites Like MySpace, Salesforce.com, Hi5, LinkedIn, etc.
BERKELEY, Calif. - Jan. 7, 2008 - SightSpeed Inc., the leading provider of Internet video communications, has announced it is developing a new addition to its award-winning portfolio of services: an easy-to-use, no-download version of its video chat service, called "SightSpeed Light," that will run on a variety of online social networks, including those based on Google's forthcoming OpenSocial platform.
SightSpeed developers are creating the application using Adobe Flash, one of the most widely adopted multimedia viewing and creation tools, making SightSpeed Light simple to integrate on a variety of platforms and enhancing its accessibility and usability.
Furthermore, in anticipation of greater opportunities for cross-application collaboration through OpenSocial, SightSpeed is inviting other developers who are building new applications with Google's APIs to work with SightSpeed to create a fully immersed video experience within the applications they are developing.
SightSpeed Light will offer free video chat and integrated video mail between members of the same social network or anywhere on the Web. Because it's built entirely using Flash, SightSpeed Light will work on any computer through any standards-based Web browser, with no downloads or installation required. Chatting with friends using video-and recording and sending them video messages-will literally be one click away.
SightSpeed plans to implement SightSpeed Light on MySpace, LinkedIn, Salesforce.com, Plaxo, Orkut, Hi5 and many other OpenSocial social networking sites.
According to Google, OpenSocial is currently being developed in conjunction with members of the Web community. The project's ultimate goal is for any social Web site to be able to implement common APIs and host third-party social applications. As those APIs are released, SightSpeed Light will add them, as appropriate, to provide benefit to users.
"With SightSpeed Light, we're expanding our portfolio to make it easier than ever for people to get started with video chat or to send and receive video messages," said SightSpeed CEO Peter Csathy. "As growing numbers of people participate in online social-network sites, and with the proliferation of embedded webcams in PCs, Macs, mobile phones and other devices, video communications is quickly moving to the forefront of the social-networking experience. And because no one understands or delivers Internet-based video communications better than SightSpeed, you can expect that our widget-just like our other services-will raise the bar in terms of ease of use and overall performance."
SightSpeed Light joins the full range of video communication services from industry leader SightSpeed. Offering additional capabilities, the full-featured SightSpeed 6.0 delivers consumers best-in-class 30-frames-per-second video calling and high-quality video mail with a virtual inbox. Also available are VoIP-based phone service with phone-in and phone-out capability, custom click-to-call-me buttons, video community access with privacy features, unlimited text messaging and up to four-party video conferencing.
For the business user, SightSpeed now offers SightSpeed Business-the company's first business-focused videoconferencing service, providing a full suite of administrative and call-management options and collaboration tools that are essential for the business user. SightSpeed Business is the first high-quality, cost-effective and hardware-free videoconferencing solution accessible to every business.
All SightSpeed's award-winning services, including SightSpeed Light, are fully SIP-based and standards-compliant, which is essential for interoperability, security, stability and overall user flexibility and utility.