Geesee is an early stage startup from Slovakia that will combine topical web chat, tag search and widgets. If you’ve seen MeeboMe, imagine instead a widget that connects a network of web chat rooms organized by tags with access points across many blogs and web pages.
Publishers who put a Geesee widget on their page would be facilitating real time communication about the topic of their page with people interested in that topic but who are on other related sites around the web. That’s a big loss of control for a commercial vendor but could be of real benefit for site visitors. We already know that no single page on the internet is the only page on a given topic – why not help us discuss the topic with people who are on other, related pages elsewhere? Geesee is an interesting example of the changing power dynamic online put to the test. If user control over data and communication is one of the next key issues post Clue Train, then there will likely be many more applications like this that do things like tie different web pages together in interesting ways.
Geesee gets its name from the acronym for Global Chat. It should launch near the end of this year, but you can get on the list for beta accounts now.
Here’s how it will be used: If I’m reading a blog about caring for German Shepherds or selecting a school for a child or deciding whether to buy Sea Monkeys from the back of a comic book – that blog could have a Geesee widget installed that would let me do a number of things. I could use it to chat with other people visiting the same site and the same time, I could use it to chat with people on other sites in rooms that have been tagged with the same terms as mine or I can search by tag and chat with people in any other room via any other participating page.
Users can participate in multiple tabbed chat rooms at once and no registration is required for use so chats can be anonymous. Private channels will also be available. Search results will display room names, tags, descriptions and the number of people chatting in each room. The feature set will develop over time of course, but plans exist to create simple plug ins for the major blogging platforms. The front end is currently being developed in Flash. The chat widget will be available both as embedded part of a page and as a linked pop up. This will be important when navigating off site. The widget will be resizable.
From Gabbly to Stickam to MeeboMe, embedded chat is becoming increasingly common. I think that Geesee’s plan to leverage a network of tagged chat rooms accessed through contextually related web sites is a smart and logical next step. Why only talk about the page you are on, when a larger discussion of related topics is available?
Site owners may be wary of using Geesee to facilitate conversations between their visitors and people accessing the chat network through other sites, but users want to be able to confer with others before trusting the information of one source online. A co branded Geesee access point could make a great addition to any site, but such a future would run into the old paradigm of captive eyeballs. Some reputation system and OpenID importing would be very nice too. Clear steps will need to be demonstrated regarding security as well.
Imagine a service that would let you check in with other people in the market for a commodity in real time before making your decision to purchase from a particular web site. That seems clearly in the users’ interest and only in the vendor’s interest in that users may expect some functionality like this in the future. It could be a great sign of confidence by vendors, to encourage and enable easy communication with people around the web interested in the topic of the site you are on. You give me a chat box with tags and tabs so I can discuss various published experts on German Shepherds in one chat tab and the best site for buying animal care books in another and I’ll really appreciate your site offering books about caring for German Shepherds.
I think Geesee is different enough from other embedded chat services that I’ll be quite interested to see how launch and adoption go.