Updated: 1/6/2004; 11:10:45 PM.
Jeremy Allaire's Radio
An exploration of media, communications and applications over the Internet.

This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.


Monday, April 14, 2003

AOL gets videophone religion

AOL Tests Video Instant Messaging [Slashdot]

OK - so since AOL refused to open up the AIM protocol and stops folks like Jabber from inter-connecting their IM system to "the rest of us" - they've come up with a sneaky way of moving forward.

Currently in beta testing, the new AOL feature will enable the service's subscribers to activate an additional pane on their IM client. Within that pane, users can record video clips of themselves via a Web cam, and then send that clip to the buddy with whom they're chatting. Users will have to click to open each new clip they receive.

AOL agreed to the limitations of their "advanced multimedia messaging" - as long as they were the predominant IM client.  So they've instituted "push-to-talk" - which is really all that can be done today, as opposed to keeping a  real-time video connection on all the time.  This sort of videophone compromise will get them into the game, as apparently Microsoft has struck a deal with Logitech to co-brand their Video Companion software.

As many times as I told people that videophoning would be the killer app of broadband, I was told "it can't be done".  Well now it is.  Though it won't ever be more than 20% of revenues garnered, I predict that this sort of "store-and-forward" videophoning will be the catalyst that will kickstart broadband into overdrive.  Kids, grandparents and broadband enthusiasts will eat it up.

Then mainstream business guys and gals will figure out they that'll never have to get onto a plane again - and they'll like that.  If mainstream AOL picks up on this - buy stock in camera, teleconferencing and ISP companies.  And sell your airline, hotel and rental car stocks.  Broadband - here we come.

I spent many months looking into practical consumer applications for async video communications.  It will be interesting to see what the AOL implementation feels like, but the technology is definately there and the approach (async versus real-time) is the right one.  My own experiments enabled people to easily record a video from a webcam or DV camera, and then send or publish through IM --- we used JBuddy to provide presence awareness and messaging into all the IM networks -- email or post to a blog using MetaWeblog API.  It all worked great and makes tons of sense for broadband suppliers and consumers.

10:18:51 AM    comment []

ENT can provide great new functionality - NOW RDF still looking for a killer (set of) app(s)?.


Lots of pratical kinds of apps and services could benefit from ENT and since it's RSS2.0 - all the current aggregators can access it.  It'll be one of those quick adds, and give tool vendors all sorts of new ways to provide great value to their customers.

Maybe these tool vendors can start to charge more :-)

Marc has been tracking some great action around a new proposal for adding topic metadata to RSS feeds.  I've read through the spec and like the fact that it's a lightweight, simple to understand approach to topics, and it can scale as external/URI-based topic maps emerge.  Would love to see popular RSS tools support this and see what can get done.  This helps to open up the range of application types that RSS can support.

10:14:00 AM    comment []

I picked this up from my comments on the Social Software post.  Hydra is an OSX-based text editor that uses Rendezvous protocols to facilitate real-time collaborative coding.  It's from a dev team (Coding Monkeys) out of Germany.  Real-time apps continue to excite and impress, and it's great to see different approaches --- using Rendezvous, Flash Communication Server, Groove, or the new Microsoft P2P SDK.



9:46:07 AM    comment []

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