Everyone wants to be “the next YouTube,” to take a simple concept—there, watching videos online—and bring it to the everyday Internet user, cashing out for $46 zillion. TokBox, whose name I still can’t figure out how to pronounce, is one of those companies, its focus being live Web chat. Think of how many times you’ve been on AIM or MSN and thought to yourself, Gee, if only I could see my friend in his or her pajamas, then my life would really be set. That’s what TokBox aims to do: to make live video chat as easy as firing up a new browser window. (Using Skype or iChat is much too hard for the average user, is what TokBox is banking on.)
That TokBox has secured plenty of venture capital money, including money belonging to Sequoia Capital (a huge backer of YouTube back in the day), means that it won’t disappear like Pets.com. The site is in beta now, and the video is a little on the grainy side, but that’s expected to improve once Adobe releases an updated version of Flash.
I don’t know, it seems to me that YouTube can be enjoyed passively. “Hey, let me watch a couple video clips of man getting hit by football.” That I can do in my office (or wherever) without drawing too much attention. Talking to my BFF online may be a different story—”Hey dude, nice haircut, what did you get in a fight with a lawn mowerlolz”—is more conspicuous.
Video Chat Service Aims to Follow YouTube’s Path [New York Times]