updated 07:45 am EDT, Fri May 6, 2011
AOL AV leaks in beta for video chat
AOL was spotted last night running a beta test of a new, very simple video chat system. AV by AIM is designed to work entirely without a login and lets users join in solely by sharing a link, not a contact list. It works with as many as four participants at once and has a text chat component that flows over the video feed.
The implementation works with Macs, Windows PCs, and anything that can supply a webcam's audio and video to the browser.
AIM product lead Jason Shellen in a leaked e-mail didn't say when AV would exit beta or if it would reach mobile platforms. It was the first of "several" AIM releases that were heralding a focus on the web and an "entire new AIM effort," he said. A product summit is due next week and could represent the official unveiling.
Video chat has increasingly become a core feature both on desktop and the mobile and has been moving towards a simple model than those used by usual instant message networks or services like Skype. Google's Gmail-linked video chat was one of the first to simplify the process, but it was given a significant help by Apple's FaceTime, which lets users nor only reach each other just by e-mail addresses but by phone numbers. [via TechCrunch]