Social Media's Video Chat Evolves On Facebook With Rounds

If Chatroulette's notoriety for exposing one's self displayed the immature side of video chatting, Rounds (formerly shows how this space has matured into a collaboration tool by grown-ups to engage in productive social activities. This week, the Rounds app for Facebook was introduced to allow the social network's over 500 millions users to participate in video chats quick and easy, with no download requirements.

This polished two-minute video, titled "The Evolution of Communication - Video Chat Rounds" is an animated short that creatively ties Rounds' video-chatting into the history of communication from the Cave Man to present day.

Perhaps seen as an initial hurdle for those that are somewhat reticent about the whole video chat social experience, the Facebook app allows first-time and even seasoned users with suggestions as to how they can engage and use Rounds' new Facebook application. They suggest taking and sharing photos, watching YouTube videos together, playing real-time multi-user social games, co-browsing with Google Maps or collaborating on virtual whiteboards.

Since the app was just launched a few hours before this post, I interviewed Natasha Shine, Rounds social community and marketing manger to find out how it was being received. She indicated that the reason "the application on Facebook was totally separated from the Web site" was to attract new Facebook users that may have not known about Rounds previously.

All anyone needs to do when they take their first test run on Facebook is to "allow" Rounds to access one's camera and microphone from their desktop computer as indicated in this screen shot.

Differing from its video chat competition, Shine notes that Rounds's users sustain longer chat times than Chatroulette where the session times are extremely low. "We are focused on making meaningful and long talks with old and new friends," notes Shine. "With regards to TinyChat, we believe their doing an amazing job and we love their product, but there’s no room for comparison, as we offer a totally different approach and value for our users. We truly believe there’s room for all three services (and then some)," Shine adds.

In regards to the Rounds apps that was previously integrated with the now defunct Google Wave, Shine says, "We’re sorry to see Google Wave closing, as we’re obviously big fans of this product, but this decision hasn’t affected our strategy at all. We want users from all over the web to enjoy our rich and interactive video chats through their favorite social networks and applications. If it’s Google Wave, Facebook or something else – we’ll always be there to give our users the best experience possible."

For other posts that detail some of the unique features and benefits of Rounds, check out the following:
Mar 6, 2012
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