Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Rob Glaser's Next Project: SocialEyes Video Dashboard

Rob Glaser and another former RealNetworks exec, Rob Williams, are today launching the beta version of a social video service called SocialEyes.

The site hosts webcam conversations between friends, co-workers and people with common interests. It promises to avoid becoming another Chatroulette by requiring users to log in with their Facebook IDs.

Oddly, the product is Web-only for now, at a time when mobile video communication is finally picking up. The Web site requires Flash 10.1, which isn’t supported by many smartphones. Besides its Flash video Web site, the company has built an Adobe Air desktop notification client.

Williams, who is CEO, and a team of less than 10 employees have paid careful attention to build things like groups tools, muting capabilities and activity streams so users can maintain their personal pages as a sort of dashboard for video communications.

On the back end, SocialEyes uses the peer-to-peer networking built into newer versions of Flash, and it also limits video bitrates to ensure reliability.

The dashboard idea seems especially useful for a company with a distributed workforce, which could encourage co-workers to monitor a panel of each other’s webcams throughout the day. That’s what the SocialEyes team does itself.

SocialEyes, which is presenting at the DEMO Conference, has raised $5.1 million from investors including Ignition Partners. It is taking on other lightweight video communications tools like Skype and Gmail, and also the seemingly inevitable Facebook video chat product.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work