Infographic: The Big Players in This New Era of Video Chatting

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"It's fun. It's addictive. And it's the enemy of productivity." That's how Om Malik wrote about Turntable.fm back in mid-June, but he was really writing about something much bigger, something he has been calling the Alive Web for some time. "[M]ore than anything, it makes the whole Web experience come alive. It's social, like being in a club -- part of an ever-changing visage, a canvas painted in real time. Turntable.fm is not an isolated example, though it might be one that captured the essence of the future Web -- Alive Web."

The Alive Web is that part of the Web that is something more than static pages and events. It is more than brief, text-based exchanges and forums. The Alive Web is more interactive and immersive. The Alive Web works in real-time and is seamless. 

"With the recent additions of the much talked about Skype/Facebook video chat and Google Hangout, the Internet has been abuzz with video chatting and the 'Alive Web' paradigm," according to the introduction to this new infographic from Rounds.com that looks specifically at group chat and social communication. "We've put together the main players in this field to see which one offers the most fun and where they are all positioned."

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • Facebook and Tinychat, two of the four main players in this field identified in the infographic, do not offer mutual Web browsing. With Google Hangout, you can watch YouTube videos, but only one person has control of the browser surfing. And with Rounds, video chatters can mutually browse Internet sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Google Maps and Justin.tv.
  • Facebook Chat is best used as a communication tool; Google Hangouts as a way to hangout with friends; Tinychat for massive multiuser parties and Rounds for fun, entertainment and games.
  • Google Hangouts and Tinychat both offer group chatting. With Google Hangout, you can chat with up to 10 people; with Tinychat, you can add up to 20 people. Both Rounds and Facebook Chat are without group chatting features.
  • Both Tinychat and Rounds allow you to randomly chat with other users.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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