Soon Facebook will be expanding its Chat product with video calling functionality, powered by Skype. It won’t support group video calling, though, at least not at first, and we haven’t heard anything about support on mobile phones so far.
Next week, Tinychat will submit a group video chat application that will work on both iOS devices and desktop browsers, and supports video chat sessions of up to 12 people at the same time.
The promotion video below shows what the app will look like, but it’s the fact that it support video calls from the desktop as well as iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices that sets it apart from similar applications from fring and Tango (and Google+ Hangouts).
I’m not a big fan of group video calling myself, but I realize that lots of people engage in that kind of activity on regular basis around the world. All you need to do it from your iOS (and soon Android) devices or your desktop via Tinychat is to have a Facebook account, which, you know, more than 750 million people do. In short, I think this app will be a hit.
I talked to Tinychat co-founder Dan Blake, and he told me that the Tinychat web service is handling over 25 million visits a month, with close to 100,000 new users signing up on a daily basis. Already, Blake says, Tinychat processes more than a billion minutes of video calls per month, and revenue is starting to flow in.
The company recently raised $1.5 million in funding from Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, angel investorNaval Ravikant and A-Grade, the investment vehicle of Madonna manager Guy Oseary, actor Ashton Kutcher and billionaire Ron Burkle.
We’ll update when the app goes live.