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Telepresence: Facebook App Video Chat 'Rounds' Get More Interactive

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February 01, 2011

Telepresence: Facebook App Video Chat 'Rounds' Get More Interactive

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Regularly adding new features to an existing product is one way to keep customers interested and loyal. Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of interactive online applications and games, including those found on social media sites like Facebook (News - Alert).

Social entertainment company GixOO understands the novelty factor well. The company develops real-time video communication environments using its platform, which was launched in 2008. Rounds is a Web-based meeting place where users can connect, chat, go on virtual dates, and play games together.

Rounds provides a variety of entertainment options, giving users the opportunity to hang out together and listen to music, interact in real-time through Facebook and YouTube (News - Alert), and go shopping together.  

The Video Chat Rounds Facebook application gained new capabilities Tuesday with the introduction of the Random Rounds feature, which lets Facebook friends and newly connected members collaborate on and share video as if they were in the same room. This builds on Video Chat Rounds’ features for engaging in video chat, surfing the Web together, browsing photos, listening to music and watching videos.

The Random Rounds feature is being introduced a mere five months since Video Chat Rounds was launched in late August, 2010, indicating that new capabilities will be added on a regular basis. No doubt, this will make an already popular application (300,000 monthly active members and counting) even more sought-after. 

Here’s how Random Rounds works, according to “Instead of just calling a

friend, members can now pick any game or activity and decide whether to enjoy it by themselves, with a friend, or with someone totally new.”

“We believe that Random Rounds offers users a unique experience by allowing members of any age, from any country, to play, share and create memorable photo booth snapshots while meeting someone new,” said co-founder and CEO Dany Fishel. 

Fishel continued: “Whether it be through the different activities, the interactive features, or the social matching mechanism that we’ve created, Video Chat Rounds bridges the gap between the offline and online worlds and continues to connect users in a more personal, emotional and memorable way.”

There is much more to Rounds than the Facebook video chat application. More than 20 different activities and games are available, including Battleship, Trivia Madness, Sky Blocks War (a Tetris-like game), and Justin.TV (lets users watch live broadcasts together).

Last May, GixOO introduced the Rounds application programming interface (API), allowing developers to create their own games for the platform. Since then, the Rounds universe has been expanded by contributions from developers, including a Pac Man game called Maze Gobbler and a new twist on the classic Space Invaders.

Privacy and safety are a priority for GiXOO, which is why the Rounds platform features some important protective features. For example, a reporting mechanism singles out “bad” users and blocks them. Only users in the same age group can connect online with each other through Rounds, and the Random Rounds feature requires users to have more than 100 friends. 

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Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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