Israelis Launch Facebook Video Chat Application

Published: August 25th 2010
in News » World

"Rounds" creators

What are you currently using to video chat? Skype? MSN Instant Manager?


Perhaps you should try "Rounds,” the new Facebook application which allows video calls at a click for free, and no installation required.


The new app allows you not only to see your friends, but to play online games with them, as well as watch movies together. Oh, and did we mention the creators are Israelis?


“Rounds” has been created by the Israeli start-up company GixOO, which was founded by Dany Fishel, 31, and Ilan Leibovitch, 29, almost two years ago. The idea to create the new chatting app was conceived when the two guys wanted to set up a speed dating site, in which users would meet six other users who match their profile within 30 minutes.


Then, they decided video chat on its own is not enough, so they packed it with activities, as well. "We were concerned that people would get bored during the call, so we added an activities screen,” Fishel explains. "Now it is possible to speak and at the same time see a YouTube clip together, or play backgammon or other games.”


"Over time, this idea caught on better than the dating idea, and we saw that everything we added, such as photos on Flickr, significantly increased call time,” Fishel added.


And the result is a Facebook app, because let's face it- there is no better place to reach the masses than on the social networks tier- which as aforementioned allows video calls. In addition, there are many activities available for the two sides to enjoy such as games, watching and/or sharing photo albums online, as well as YouTube clips.


"Today there is a screen offering the activities we choose, but in the future there will be a browser so that websites can be visited together,” Fishel says. "In fact, it was something we hardly considered that became a hit: The possibility of creating a screen shot while talking on video. We were surprised to see thousands of pictures created by surfers and posted on social networking sites.”


The two partners successfully outdid themselves three months ago, as the company launched the option for any developer to create applications and game for their video chat platform (just like iGoogle, iTunes or Facebook itself). When someone else is creating content for your service, that's called success in the high tech industry, and this is a huge boost.


The developers can offer these “Rounds” integrated apps either for free or to sell them to the service's user. And while the application itself is available free of charge, profits are made through cooperation with other applications and advertising.


Moreover, the company has managed to draw the social network's attention, as Facebook representatives have already met with the company to see how successful the application is. If “Rounds” does hit it off, they may combine it with Facebook's chat services.


At the beginning, GixOO was self-financed by Fishel and Leibovitch, but now, they draw investors from Startup Factory and Rhodium, owned by Daniel Recanati. Altogether, GixOO has raised some $2 million.


Just a year ago, “Rounds” became one of the first applications to be integrated into Google's Wave service, which was supposed to kill the email, but turned out to be a big failure and will be discontinued, according to recent announcements made by Google.


Today the application houses some 250,000 users, in spite of the fact that the company has hardly invested in advertising. And now, with its step up to Facebook, “Rounds” is at a crossroads - it could be remembered as a tiny step, just another Facebook application, or it could become one giant leap with over 500 million potential Facebook users. We hope for the latter.

Related articles: (Rounds, facebook, applications, app, video chat)

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