Watchitoo Opens Video Chat Playground to Take on Google+ Hangouts

10/3/12Follow @jpruth

Almost anyone can start a video conference nowadays, thanks to the ubiquity of computer webcams and mobile devices equipped with cameras. No longer the province of elite corporate meetings, video chat services are accessible through social networks and telecom providers. Now New York’s Watchitoo believes its new service can challenge Google+ Hangouts for its share of the video chat market.

On Wednesday, Watchitoo unveiled Playground, a leaner version of its primary Watchitoo video conferencing platform. CEO Rony Zarom says Playground is designed for small and midsize business, but he believes it may appeal to an even broader audience. The platform, he says, combines video conferencing with a variety of collaboration features, and the ability to watch video on demand together. “It’s a business tool on one hand, but it is straightforward and easy to use,” he says.

Playground is browser-based and—much like the Watchitoo platform—can connect up to 25 active participants over the Web for live video conferencing. It also lets users in each conference collaborate on files such as PDFs, presentations, photos, and video clips. However, Playground is streamlined, Zarom says, for the layperson to operate without much hassle. For example, the Watchitoo platform lets users share their videoconferences live on the Web with potentially thousands of viewers who can simply observe or be rotated into the conversation. Playground does not include such a feature.

Cloud-based Playground is available directly through its website, as a service offered by Internet service providers, and through resellers who bundle it with customer relationship management software. Playground is accessible through … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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