Video chat is cool. It brings people closer together, it is not only fun but also useful. I can use it to show you my new pair of flip-flops, for example.
I can show you the beautiful flowers I received yesterday (thank you, my friends, if you read this).
I can show you my cat playing volleyball.
I can show you the first signs of spring in my garden.
I can do that with all my remote friends. One things I can’t do, though, is convince some of them to use Skype. However, they are all on Facebook, so all I need is to find a solution to do video chat in Facebook to share parts of life with them and to stay in touch the way I like it. There are several applications which make videochat possible in Facebook. I’m not going to write about all of them here. I tried some, but one of them seemed to be the best by far: ChatVibes.
What is ChatVibes?
ChatVibes is a free browser extension compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. It has the function to add a VideoPhone directly to the Facebook chat. The extension is very easy to install, all you need to do is download the installer and double-click on it. Beware that the installer will shut down any instance of those browsers that you may have open, so don’t let any unsaved work in your blog or in your gmail or Yahoo mail.
After the installation, you’ll see a tiny button in the Facebook chat, which will enable video, provided that your friend has it installed as well. If not, it will send her a message with a short explanation and a download link.
If both of you have ChatVibes installed, when you click the video button, it will send a message for the other part to accept the incoming video call. The image quality isn’t awesome, but it’s good enough, as you can see from the screen capture below (I know you can’t see faces is this one, but you get an idea about the video chat window). It probably depends on the webcam as well, I don’t know, since I’ve tested it with only one camera.
What I Don’t Like About ChatVibes
I found it annoying that after restarting those browsers, the ChatVibes website loaded in a tab. Since I’ve already downloaded the application, I’m no longer interested to visit them again, as there’s not so much info on their website anyway.
Another thing, even more annoying, is that in Internet Explorer, ChatVibes managed to set up a new homepage, which is a Google search page with AdSense ads on it. It looks just like the Google start page, plus those ads. You can get rid of that, it’s easy. If you don’t know how, just let me know and I’ll write a short tutorial for you.
If you want it, here’s where you can get ChatVibes from.