See, Hear, and Type to Amanda Congdon on Paltalk 9.0

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Keep Your Gadgets in Order

PalTalk, a video chat messenger, is rolling out its new 9.0 client over the next two days with the help of several celebrities, including blogger Ariana Huffington and Amanda Congdon of Rocketboom fame. Paltalk’s messenger client has all the basic IM chat features you expect including interoperability with AIM, Yahoo!, and ICQ, but distinguishes itself by throwing video and chat rooms into the mix.

The new 9.0 client features what they call “SuperIM”, where you can chat with up to nine other people in live video and audio. You view video feeds of your friend’s webcams on a strip running along the top of the window, like the one above. From the strip, you can break out and expand a video feed for a closer look. Such a rich chatting experience may prove hectic for most users used to carrying on multiple conversations, but the ability to switch your focus and audio feed between windows helps control the chaos.

The video quality is great if you shell out the extra $4.99 each month ($59.95/year) for the best version, Paltalk x-treme. The basic version, however, only displays user snapshots, while the second-tier version displays video at about half the frame-rate of x-treme, but for $39.95 per year. There is a good comparison preview here.

Paltalk is known for creating communities out of its four million users (amassed over the past eight years). They have hundreds of chat rooms categorized by topics such as religion, politics, and technology, with subcategories narrowing them down even further. Radio shows like Opie and Anthony use Paltalk to broadcast to a couple thousand fans while they’re on the air, and I expect the same will happen for their guest line-up.

Regular chat rooms on PakTalk can be overstimulating to the unaccustomed user. There are often several IMs at once and music can be blaring from the administrator’s room. You can control some of that by muting audio, ignoring users, sending a personal IM, or raising your hand to talk (similar to Skype Live). If things really get out of hand, users can report abuse through a team of 250 volunteer who police the rooms and respond to complaints.

Amanda Congdon will go live on Paltalk tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern. Everyone who visits the celebrity chat room on Paltalk will get to experience the full video feed for free. See the full schedule here.

  • scott

    I don’t want Gmail to become social. I’d rather see FriendFeed reincarnated from a mashup between Reader and Wave. Inject Wave widgets into Reader and inject Reader feeds/lists into Wave documents then expose a PubSubHubbub XMPP gateway API within the Wave XMPP protocol.

  • Adam

    Need a way better picture…

  • jyoseph

    In my opinion, Wave isn’t in the same space as Friendfeed or even twitter or Facebook. It strikes me as more of a tool for collaborating on projects than socializing about the daily minutia.

  • Robert Scoble

    Actually what we need is desplicing. I already have spliced together all my feeds. I have 7,000 aimed at my home page right now. What I need is a better way to desplice out the useful tweets from the noise.

    Then we need curation tools so I can tell you more about those tweets.

    FriendFeed got so close.

    FriendFeed had a fatal flaw, though: it let everyone onto your home screen without your personally putting them there.

  • arzu zorlu

    Thanks for sharing. Good post.

  • mike

    “That way, I can just make up what I want to have happen, never breaking any confidence…”

    I should have stopped reading after that. Great journalism and integrity you have there. Oh, and you should think about running these things passed an editor who can fix your ramblings and make them a little more coherent.

    • Jehosephat

      Wait to get a sense of humor until they’re on clearance. I’m not sure you’d get much use out of it.

  • Dustin

    Yet another rambling Gillmor post that I can barely follow without getting frustrated.

  • Jake

    words > thought. You’re a journalist. This is supposed to make sense.

    • Robert Scoble

      It does make sense. You just need the decoder ring. Listen to the Gillmor Gang and you’ll get one.

  • Cori

    Oh good, based on the other comments, I’m not the only one who didn’t gather a single coherent thought from this “article.”

  • Iggy Kin

    Nice article Steve, FriendFeed isn’t dead. This article gives lots of people lots of hope and I agree with you that Paul Buchheit is the key. If you can find out what Paul is doing …

  • Travis

    Facebook has “filters” which allow anyone to “splice” the stream anyway they seem fit.

  • Tom

    I couldn’t even finish reading this. Where’s the dude’s editor?

  • Flabbergasted

    Just when I thought Gillmor was finally drifting into sanity, along comes another incomprehensible post. I suspect the correct way to read this sort of thing is chant it at high speed with the hope that, like subliminal advertising, some sort of hidden message emerges through the babble, like it does in the movie “Pi”.

  • Stick Handle

    puff puff pass steve

  • Learn To Fucking Write

    I gave up trying to understand what you were saying about 3 sentences in.

    Oh, and Friendfeed is not dead.

  • Bill

    Here’s a Beatles analogy for you: This post is about as cogent as the song Revolution 9.

  • FriendFeed Not Dead, Just In A State Of “Chrysalis,” Says Co-founder

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  • Charisma

    Intersting, It seems that privacy is dead and I know with yahoo, you can see what your friends have done and posted on messageboards, etc. Its quite scary!

  • Scott Magoon

    Steve, forget inserting an obligatory Beatles analogy into a longer article. Just make the whole thing one big Beatles analogy. It’s an underserved niche.

    And for those complaining that there’s no editing, what makes you think this wasn’t already cut in half from the original submission?

    • Dave Winer

      Actually Steve made a classic mistake, he didn’t hedge his bet, so now he looks like a complete idiot for having said that the FF guys had the patent on the future.

      They got scared competing in the rough and tumble world of technology. They liked to stay home instead of getting out there and making the deals needed to get the news flowing through their system. Too bad cause they were close.

      They should have taken the BART to the city a few more times instead of waiting for everyone to come pay homage in Mountain View. Even better, gotten on an airplane to NY and got to know how the media biz works. They have nice technology, but you need news to make it sing.

      Steve thinks he’s the only one who has copies of the remastered Beatles, or was a fan when it was new, but I bought a set at Amazon and am now listening to the STEREO version of Because.

      Because the wind is high ahhh love is old is love is new. Love is all love is you.

      And I bet my sound system is more fuck-you-up than Steve’s. Oh yeah, and I actually write code, so I don’t have to wait for someone to write it for me.

      And I can write just as confusing a mess of prose as Steve can — so there! :-)

  • Technology blog » FriendFeed Not Dead, Just In A State Of “Chrysalis,” Says Co-founder

    […] had things to say about the decay and seemingly inevitable death of FriendFeed. That included us, twice. While this was going on, the FriendFeed team remained largely silent, even on their own product. […]

  • robertsonhonda

    I think Steve has some kind of contract with TechCrunch whereby they are now required to give him regular posts.

  • Techno Information » Blog Archive » FriendFeed Not Dead, Just In A State Of “Chrysalis,” Says Co-founder

    […] had things to say about the decay and seemingly inevitable death of FriendFeed. That included us, twice. While this was going on, the FriendFeed team remained largely silent, even on their own product. […]

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    […] the midst of all this, Steve Gillmor wrote a strange post comparing the decline of Friendfeed to the breakup of the Beatles. In their period of final […]

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