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February 6, 2004

Lights! Camera! Instant Message!

AOL released AIM 5.5. Apple released iChat AV 2.1 beta.

The two together form an unstoppable method of cross-platform video and audio communication. Mac users with an iSight camera can now have a video chat with Windows users, while Windows users can join the party with something considerably better than Netmeeting or Yahoo.

If I had broadband and any of my friends or family had broadband, I'd be excited. That's not the case, though, so only the abstract idea is exciting at all.

For my $0.02, we'll start to see video chat really take off in the next few years even though it's been repeatedly tried unsuccessfully. More computer owners than ever have or qualify for broadband, and iChat AV is one of the first solutions to provide fluid video. There's something immensely disconcerting about talking to a single frame per second, while the 30 possible now is almost as good as the real thing. The fact that it's tied into the AIM network is even better. Netmeeting and other predecessors almost always had the problem that finding your friend was difficult at best, and may well have required outside coordination. In this age, chances are you're logged into AIM if you're anywhere near your computer. A simple click is all it takes to start a video chat with a friend now. That's the way it should be.

If I woke up tomorrow and everyone magically had broadband, I'd be on my way to the Apple Store to get an iSight camera and begin my video conferencing madness. Letters and phone calls are nice, but there's nothing like being able to see the face of someone you miss.

Posted by Colin at February 6, 2004 11:15 PM

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