Video chat is nothing new. The Real Player, Google Talk, Chat Roulette, Face Time on the iPhone 4 and even the very first 3 mobile phones allowed video chat. None of these services have exactly set the world on fire, so at first glance it is easy to see why the naysayers are declaring that Social Eyes will not amount too much.
Social Eyes is a new company, founded by Rob Glaser, the founder of Real Networks, and it allows a very simple integration with your Facebook profile. There is no software download, and signing up literally takes 20 seconds. Simply go to socialeyes.com and press ‘connect with Facebook’
As with all video chat services, Social Eyes requires that friends are on the same platform at the same time in order for the opportunity to chat to present itself. That is where this service will have the biggest advantage for me, because millions of people spend hours a week on Facebook, and so the chance of friends being online at the same time is considerable. You only have to look at how many opportunities there are to text chat with friends online in Facebook to realise that the opportunity is considerable.
The biggest problem with video chat, is that you couldn’t really use it at work. Talking to your PC is probably frowned upon in the workplace, but evening chat at home over a wireless network could well take off. It’s a bit like merging Skype into the huge dwell time platform that is Facebook.
I think it has a really good chance of being the first main stream chat service. All Social Eyes need to do now is work out how to monetise it! If they could build scale, maybe a 10 second pre-roll before each chat session might work. Or maybe in stream banners similar to YouTube.