Rob Glaser got known by starting Real Networks so we wondered what he was going to do next. Here it is. He joined up with CEO Rob Williams, who used to be on the Netmeeting team at Microsoft. In other words he’s been doing collaborative real time video software for a long time (Netmeeting was hot in 1995/1996). In this conversation we cover a lot of videoconferencing history and what’s changed since Netmeeting.
While video conferencing via the web has been around since the 1990s, the concept hasn’t kept pace with the radical changes in social interactions made possible by services such as Facebook. SocialEyes is changing that with a new tool that introduces video into the Facebook experience.
“The way that people collaborate now in the age of social networks is very, very different than the way they used to,” explains Rob Williams, CEO of SocialEyes. “SocialEyes is a social video product that lets people connect with their Facebook friends in much more dynamic and powerful ways than they have before and to go beyond their Facebook friends to connect with people who have a shared interest or passion…both in real-time and asynchronously.”
SocialEyes is a free service and works directly within your browser using Flash. You can have multiple video conversations going on at once in separate windows, and if you want to combine conversations, the software has tools to connect windows and create ad hoc group meetings.
By associating with Facebook, SocialEyes has an enormous potential pool of users, and the goal is to make it easy for each of them to use the service. “One of the very powerful things we do with SocialEyes,” says Williams, “is rollout something that works across every [Facebook] user–500 million users around the world–with essentially no software download.”