Is Video Chat and Social Networking A Recipe for Success?

In the late sixties television viewers were treated to a number of predictions of future technology through the popular series Star Trek.  On Star Trek, we saw Gene Roddenberry’s predictions of a number of future communication technologies.  Years later, the original flip clam shell design for cell phones made the original Star Trek communicators a reality.

We see the same realization of the prediction of video telephone calling coming to pass through new video chat technologies such as OoVoo and Google Plus.    In the early eighties in the popular movie Blade runner, we see a video car phone.  In Star Trek, we saw the video call via computer or television screen, but in the eighties, the public imagination began to think of video calling as part of a mobile phone.

While the prevalence of inexpensive webcams and the popularity of the internet service Skype in the early 2000’s have brought t-he popular dream of video calling a reachable goal, the use of mobile technology had untethered people from their land line telephones, limiting the widespread adoption of video calling.   In 2007, Apple released its first iPhone smart phone.  With the phenomenal success of the smart phone, Apple ushered in a new revolution in the way people use computing technology.

Applications such as Skype and OoVoo offered video chat software for the Apple iOS platform and then later offered their product via the Android mobile platform.  One of the struggles up to this point has been the computing power of the mobile device platform, but now with the new mobile devices such as the Galaxy and iPhone 5, mobile smart phone devices are catching up to traditional desktop and laptop processing power very quickly.

The other issue that still needs to be addressed in regards to solving all of the technical roadblocks to making video chat a reality is network speeds.  While broadband mobile networks, such as the 4G LTE network, are much better than before, and WiFi connectivity is becoming more ubiquitous than ever, network connectivity is not quite at the point to support wide scale video telephone calling.

Technology aside, the last piece of the puzzle to popular adoption of video calling technology is social acceptance.  What the industry has seen in the last year is that the combination of video calling with social networking tools such as Facebook and Google Plus is primed to be the catalyst that will push video calling past the tipping point from being a niche solution to being a popular cultural technology.

In 2011, ooVoo released its new version of its product that integrated seamlessly with Facebook.  What this did for the video conferencing space cannot be understated.  Before this integration with Facebook, users who wanted to use video calling would need to set up and configure their webcam and then install a separate program to manage their webcam based video calls.

What ooVoo provided through its integration with Facebook was the ability to hook up directly to a video chat service through the popular portal, Facebook, without any additional setup or installation.  This means that any user, from young teenagers to senior citizens and everyone in between could take advantage of video chat software without any additional technical knowledge beyond knowing how to use Facebook.

With video chat technology starting to resemble more of a chat session and less of a phone call, video chat began to take a new form beyond what was imagined in Star Trek and Bladerunner.  Now we have Google Plus Hangouts and ooVoo chat services that offer simultaneous video chat with up to twelve people at the same time.

With more than five million users, ooVoo has seen very interesting uses of its service that had not been anticipated.  Most of ooVoo’s user base consists of teenagers and young adults under the age of 26.  Its users often spend their time on the service just “hanging out”.

Users will often practice an “always on” type of functionality with their friends.  This is much different than the way early video conferencing users used Skype, which was mainly for business calls or infrequent long distance conferences with family members.  Now, users will do such activities as doing homework and watching television together.


Author Bio:  Jason Phillips has been into technical writing since 2006. There are a number of topics in which he prefers to write like software, hardware and latest applications. His recent articles video chat helped him a lot to gain popularity as a good blogger.


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