It’s a race for live video chat. Which one is right for you? First the history, then some recommendations based on what you plan to do (one-to-one or one-to-many).
- First it was Stickam, where community people would run group video sessions.
- Then came Blogtv.com, which provided advertising dollars to popular online-video talent to run live shows (the most-subscribed blogtv creators are, not coincidentally, all most-subscribed on YouTube).
- Stickam and Blogtv, according to Alexa, are currently fairly close in terms of visitors and time spent on site (as much as 13 minutes).
- Skype also extended its audio chat to video. And of course there’s always AIM video for people either far behind or far ahead of the time.
- Then Google/Gmail Video Chat made it easy, and integrated with Google mail.
Now Facebook is getting into the game. Given the proliferation of Facebook, I’d guess we’ll see significant use of its video chat — perhaps more than Gmail or AIM since it’s a common platform regardless of e-mail or hosting provider.
It’s unfair to compare these, because they have different purposes. Here are three, with my recommendations:
- Want a video-conference call that includes several people, and potentially observers with view/comment access only? Try Stickam.
- Want to do a “show” for a large audience? Blogtv is probably best, unless you want to interact with interviewees or callers… then it gets limited.
- Going one-to-one? AIM, Google Video Chat, Skype, and FaceBook seem like reasonable bets. Given that FaceBook likely has your network established, I’m betting on it surpassing the others.