Sunday, July 6, 2008

How Do You ooVoo? My Video Chat with ooVoo CEO Philippe Schwartz

It's not everyday that I get the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with the CEO of an online video platform, but I did just that the other day. I spoke with Philippe Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of ooVoo, who hosted the first of a series of video chat sessions featuring ooVoo employees called "How Do You ooVoo?" It's a chance for the ooVoo community to talk with the people behind the scenes to share how they feel about the product and how they use it. I've already signed up for several sessions and you can join as well by going to the How Do You ooVoo? link.

ooVoo is a free multi-party videoconferencing application that's very similar in form and function to Skype. The main difference between the two is that ooVoo allows you to have up to a 6-way video chat with a paid account and 3-person video chats for free. ooVoo recently moved to a paid plan following their promotional period.

Several months ago ooVoo hosted a series of My ooVoo Day With... video chat sessions which gave fans an opportunity to speak directly with some of their favorites bloggers that included Chris Brogan, Erin Kotecki Vest, Marshall Kirkpatrick, John Wall, Robin Good, iJustine and many more. It was a promotion event headed up by the people at Crayon to get the word out and also raise money for the Frozen Pea Fund in the name of 22 charities. I participated in 3 of the 161 video chat sessions that took place over 12 days. There's a great commemorative video of the event here.
In my video conversation with Philippe Schwartz, he said that he was moved by the"My ooVoo Day With..." event and had waited a few years to create a conversation with the ooVoo community. Also participating in the video call was Robert Muffoletto, an educator and coordinator of New Media & Global Education at Appalachian State University who joined from Holland. Roberto coordinates an international online masters program and shared some interesting stories on how his students are using ooVoo. We spoke about a range of topics from ooVoo's product roadmap, their vision, community feedback and upcoming ooVoo events. Philippe recorded the session which lasted over an hour and posted it here.

Philippe said the PC version of ooVoo has about 9 months of development on the Mac OS version and that's why it has more features. But the new Mac OS version will be available July 28th and will incorporate video recording and telephony. He also said ooVoo was developed as a consumer product and not a business product and that they have focused on superior video and audio quality for multi-party calls. The quality of the video and audio is one of best I've experienced on the variety of two-way video chat solutions that I've used. Philippe said that's achieved by their proprietary algorithm. He added that new ooVoo offerings will feature moderated calls, scheduled events through an ooVoo portal he calls "ooVoo in a box", notifications through IM, more integration with social applications like Facebook and MySpace and the release of API's for web and widget development.

Regarding more "My ooVoo Day With..." events, Philippe said they are about to launch a new event at the end of this month focusing on the elections called, My ooVoo Day With, Political Edition and more of the regular "My ooVoo Day With..." events will follow later in the year.

Why not give it a try?