Disclosure: Skype is an investor in FON. Microsoft maybe somehow involved with FON one day , but in spite of the different meetings we have had we have not made any deals. Google is an investor in FON. I am the founder of FON.
Now here’s my view on video calling . . .
For years companies tried to get video calling going in the corporate market. It was a failure. Video calling has a place in the corporate market but less than in the residential market. People who want to see each other are people who care about each other: friends, family, lovers. Whereas, business executives can mostly do without seeing each other.
Still there are some occasions in business when you really want to see a person in business: interviews. And I do a lot of interviews over Skype with video. I like doing them over Skype because you see people, hear them, chat with them (chatting tells a lot about a person) You can ask them to send you files, spreadsheets, can discuss them. It works great.
So, today I decided to test Windows Live (formerly IM) and compare the two. I also tried to see if Google Talk had video but it does not. My conclusion is that you can’t use Windows Live for work mainly because Windows Live is full of commercials. The client has tons of commercials and commercials interrupt the set up of video calls. My first video call was interrupted with a Logitech commercial. That killed the experience.
Before Google, there were two ways of getting content, free with commercials who interrupted content or with subscription and without commercials. But Google invented the contextual commercial, the less annoying commercial and that has worked beautifully. Google tries to “read your mind” when it shows you a commercial so the commercial is less annoying. I find it amazing that they have been so successful with Gmail in spite of their commercials. But commercials that interrupt whatever it is you are doing, as in the case of Windows Live, are harder to put up with, especially when you have the choice to use Skype that is free and shows no commercials and makes its revenues from telco services. But Windows Live has a huge captive audience who is mostly non business and accustomed to commercials so they are the biggest platform in the world. And now they added Yahoo.
Ideally what would be best is a platform that brought them all together. Surprisingly, this is what I have in my mobile with Fring. Fring gets my Google Talk contacts, my Skype contacts, my Windows Live contacts and the contacts already on my Nokia N80 all in one chat/call for free (if you find wifi) no-ads platform. But Fring has no video. I am still looking for a video app for my Nokia that is not the video calling by Vodafone.
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