Webex's core product MeetMeNow was quietly updated last night with some new features. New on the list is support for Webcams (both PC and Mac), which will automatically be detected and let the conference host know who's got video-conferencing capabilities. They've also condensed all video into one area of the interface, where the host can choose which cameras get broadcasted to others in the meeting. It's a quirky system, and not nearly as advanced as some of the collaborative services that offer up multiple user Webcams at the same time like Octopz (review), or even chat … Read more
Have you seen Cisco System's TelePresence? If you haven't, you should. TelePresence is a next-generation video-conferencing offering from Cisco and to call TelePresence "technology" minimizes its scope. TelePresence includes television monitors, desks, chairs, and everything you need for connectivity. Once installed, you get a Star Trek-like experience. Cameras react to voices and focus on the person speaking. Television monitors display remote participants across a virtual table as if they were in the same room. Geek heaven!
TelePresence is nothing like any video-conferencing technology I've ever seen or thought about. The first time I heard about … Read more
We saw a lot of work and business tools for conferencing and collaboration come out of Under the Radar last week, but what about when you want to have fun? YouCams is a slick little embeddable video, voice, and text-chatting tool that's a mix of fun and business. The entire app runs in Flash, and users can jump in and join a discussion without the need for registration. The tool is aimed at social network users (mainly the MySpace crowd) as a way to communicate and interact with one another. Something that will likely get them blocked from the service, like what happened to competitor Stickam.
If you've used Stickam before, the Webcam functionality is a little similar. And by a little I'm being generous, because YouCams is much more full featured. There are two tiers of service, both free and paid. Basic registration is fairly generous, giving you voice, text, and video broadcasting privileges. Upgrading to the premium level turns YouCams into a full-on conferencing tool, allowing you to video chat with three other users at the same time, and own a personalized URL with the option to host your own conferencing room.
An interesting addition to YouCams is integration with YouTube, and a large variety of widgets. These float around on the interface, and require no extra installation. It feels a little bit like YourMinis. The Space Invaders widget in particular nearly kept me from finishing this post. Likewise the YouTube integration is well done. Video links pop up in a conversation bubble, and won't start until you click on them. Like the widgets, they float around and can be resized on an ad-hoc basis.
There's also a social networking component integrated in the service. Users trade 'stars,' which act as credits to buy into various features. It's an interesting take on user involvement, although I'm not sure it'll catch on until users have a real reason to get involved. Maybe giving them access to premium content like music or movie downloads would be a good hook. In the meantime, casual chatters will likely get a kick out of YouCams for its slick interface and ease of use.
I've embedded a YouCams module after the jump. It might not run if you're using Firefox. We've been in contact with the YouCams team about this, and they're on it.… Read more
I normally don't comment on industry financial dealings, but this morning I was surprised by the news that Cisco is acquiring the remote meeting services company WebEx, for $3.2 billion (official news release). When I first read this, I thought I was reading a news story that had gotten stuck in the tubes for five years and was only now surfacing on the Web. In the online market five years ago, before the Web 2.0 hype bubble began--and in the wake of crumbling airline finances--it would have made a lot of sense. Today, it's less clear. … Read more
This is either a great meeting tool or a dream come true for suspicious bosses who want to keep tabs on workers in remote locations. Or both.
The "Giraffe Video-Conferencing Robot" from HeadThere is basically a mobile video-conferencing system that can roam around the office floor like a surrogate supervisor. "Because people near the robot can see and hear the user, they interact with him as if he were truly present. In a sense, the robot acts as a stand-in for the user," the company says. Creeped out yet?
The 5-foot-8 Giraffe, which can be controlled … Read more
There have been several communication tools on Webware in the last few days. Joining the party is Yackpack, a messaging tool that lets you chat live as a group or swap recorded messages to group members, all within your Web browser.
Yackpack creates a visual chat room for you, with floating faces representing users. Playing and recording messages is handled through a slick and simple player that sits in the top right of the interface. Handling who you are and aren't talking to is as simple as clicking icons. Toggling all group members is managed with a single select … Read more
Adobe has launched Acrobat Connect (formerly known as Breeze); a very slick, Flash-based, screen sharing and videoconferencing tool. We've had a few experimental meetings using the product here in the Webware labs and came away impressed. And if anything deserves to be impressive, it's a Web app that costs as much as this one does: $40 a month.
It's really good, though, and you can sign up for a 15-day trial to give it a spin. Unlike Webex and GoToMeeting, Connect does all its magic in Flash. (Connect also doesn't demand your credit card number before … Read more
At last night's NY Tech Meetup, one of the New York Web start-ups showcased was BitWine, a networking service based on providing paid advice; or, as exec Alon Cohen put it, "a market for knowledge." A Web user may come to BitWine looking for advice that ranges from how to train for a marathon to how to pitch a new company to investors; experts in all subjects may come to BitWine to find a way to cash in on their esoteric and not-so-esoteric knowledge. The site was established about a year ago and launched in full about … Read more