Qlipso Brings Avatars, Video Chat, and Facebook Connect To Virtual Rooms


Media on the Web is going from a solo affair to a shared experience. We are seeing this in everything from CNN live news videos enabled with Facebook chat to Meebo Rooms and Tiny Chat. Today, a new startup from Los Angeles called Qlipso is launching its own virtual rooms where friends can share videos and play Flash games with each other.

The service is in private beta and requires a Windows-only download for the avatars (there’s also a Web app without the avatars). You can get one of 1,000 invites here. Click on “Get Started” and ignore the beta key request. Send an email to the contact listed (betsy) and put “TechCrunch Invite” in the subject line.

You sign in with Facebook Connect and can invite up to eight friends to share any Flash-based media. Once inside the virtual room, you can interact via text chat, video chat, voice-chat, or videogame-quality avatars. The integration with Facebook Connect makes it easy to invite friends via a message in your news feed. It also supports MySpace, AIM, and MSN Messenger.

The Qlipso download adds a plug-in to your browser which identifies Flash media whenever you are surfing the Web and places a share button next to it. When you click teh share button, it launches the app and lets you see which of your contacts are online so you can invite them in.

Qlipso is aiming the service at media sites which might want to incorporate the experience to make the consumption of their videos and games more social and interactive. When a group of people are watching a video, Qlipso can recommend other videos in the left-hand column to keep the group of friends in the room longer. The service brings in elements of virtual worlds with the avatars which can move realistically and perform tricks like flips and throwing tomatoes at the screen.

The startup is a sponsor of our Realtime Crunchup this Friday and will be demoing the service at the event.

Here’s a video: