I got an inquiry if I wanted to check out SocialEyes, a new site from developers in San Francisco offering multi-way video chat capabilities with your Facebook friends. I was intrigued so I created a screencast as I went along. I pass my thoughts to you as I walked through hooking into the service and some things I noticed after recording.
Upon first looks, it was a simple browser interface. No download outside of verifying you have a current version of Flash. Authentication was performed via Facebook, with some strange access to your personal information. I highlighted those concerns in the video.
I found the groups a bit strange to work with and soon started hearing strange sounds after recording. It took a minute, but I found little Facebook like pop-ups in the bottom browser corner on that page of people randomly chatting away. I found no way to see the profile of the person or block them.
You can see a sample of the multi0video interface here, along with the Facebook friends down the left side of the image. You can have individual video chats, or what they call “scrums” for group video chats. I can see this feature taking off for teenagers right away that live in Skype and Oovoo right now.
My thought is Facebook always sits back and let’s other develop this type of functionality and generate the buzz needed to elevate it to the next level. They then look into the architecture needed and will bring some form of video capability into the product. With the recent changes to messaging that were made (see Episode 14), to make it seamless, video is direction to keep Skype away.
I plan on testing more with some Facebook friends that answered the call to also get into the site and test it out. Feel free to join my Facebook network.
Once I make some more runs through, I will make an updated posting on ease of function, clarity of video streams and stability of the multi-way video.
I also have some questions around monetization if they are offering this as a free service with the millions (over $5M) of funding they have received to launch the product. I imagine with the access to personal information, your friends and profile, they could build some decent advertising into the UI that would be unobtrusive.