Elance adds video chat to its virtual workrooms

Elance recently introduced video chat to its users as a new feature embedded directly into the site. That will allow employers and contractors to have face-to-face communication without having to open a different application or video chat client.

TokBox Brings Group Video Chat to WordPress Blogs

WordPress bloggers can now embed video chats right into their sites, thanks to a new plug-in from Bay Area-based video chat specialist TokBox. The plug-in is geared towards media sites, making it possible to host talkshows and one-on-one interviews in front of a larger audience.

TokBox Raises $12M, Launches OpenTok Video Chat

Video chat startup TokBox has raised $12 million in Series C financing led by DAG Ventures, and is launching a service called OpenTok. The new offering, which is built on a set of JavaScript APIs, will allow publishers to embed video chat services in their websites.

Vid-Biz: NBC, YuMe, Warner Bros.

NBC.com Partners with Kiptronic for Mobile Ads; agreement will let NBC.com dynamically serve ads on its mobile platform. (emailed release)

YuMe Launches New Video Ad Unit; the InSynch Video Takeover allows an in-stream video ad and an in-page banner ad to be synchronized so messages can move back and forth between them. (release)

Warner Bros. Television Group Partners with AOL for Socialthing; service will incorporate AIM and ICQ to let visitors on sites such as TheWB.com, KidsWB.com and Momlogic.com share and comment with friends. (release)

Tokbox Changes CEOs (Again); browser-based video chat company replaces Nick Triantos with Ian Small. (GigaOM)

Q&A with Jason Kilar About Disney; Hulu CEO talks about adding ABC content to his company’s ranks, content windowing and authentication. (paidContent) If you have questions for Mr. Kilar, he’s agreed to field some over at the Freakonomics Blog.

HBO Putting Parts of Alzheimer’s Project Online; portions of the documentary as well as 15 supplemental films surrounding the series will appear on YouTube, iTunes, MySpace and Facebook. (Multichannel News)

Pink: The Series Director Launches New Web Series; from Streamy winner Blake Calhoun comes 88 Hits, a mockumentary about mobsters that debuts on KoldCast TV today. (KoldCast TV)

Tokbox Changes Its CEO, Again

[qi:090] Tokbox, a San Francisco-based start-up that offers browser-based video chat, has lost its CEO, Nick Triantos. He has been replaced by Ian Small. We had heard about this change, and Tokbox confirmed it to me. Small’s bio hasn’t been added to Tokbox’s web site just yet. Triantos had replaced co-founder Serge Fauget in somewhat mysterious circumstances in March 2008. Tokbox has raised $14 million in two rounds of venture financing from Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital.

The company launched in October 2007 by spamming me and others who were invited to test out Tokbox. The company’s video chat service has struggled to find the super-growth that a consumer-oriented company such as Tokbox needs. Tokbox says it has a “user base of over 1 million people who are making over 1.5 million video calls everyday.” According to web-traffic measurement service Quantcast, Tokbox is  getting about 62,000 visitors a month, roughly in line with the user metrics reported by Compete.com. I have always been a little skeptical of Tokbox, and frankly, I haven’t seen anything that has made me change my mind.

What’s There to TokBox?

nullBain Capital must be psychic. Apparently they’ve looked into the future and seen that TokBox, a San Francisco-based startup, will either grow into a large company or find a buyer for what is essentially a Flash-based, in-browser video chat service that’s gotten marginal traction. Sure, the company has a new desktop client that allows you to video chat with anyone, but then so does my iChat.

Bain Capital has led a $10 million investment in TokBox. The move comes less than a month after the company named a new CEO, Nick Triantos, who has worked for many tech firms, but has never before held that title.

The company launched in October 2007 and has thus far raised a total of $14 million from Bain and early investors Sequoia Capital. Scott Friend, Venture Partner at Bain Capital Ventures, in a press release announcing the Series B round, said:

“The company is executing well…We are excited to be investing with our partners at Seqouia in a company we believe has the potential to be the next ‘big thing’ in web communication.”

Just to put his words into context, TokBox recently fired its founder and CEO, Serge Faguet. And according to Compete.com, they had about 179,000 visitors in the month of July, though they did sign a deal with Meebo that stands to get them some traction. (For a list of their competitors, check out NewTeeVee’s round-up of video chat applications.)

From the way I understand it, TokBox is using the built-in video capture capabilities in Flash player combined with the Flash media server to offer in-browser video conferencing. When the company launched, I pointed out that it was an “interesting idea, but more of a feature than a platform for a standalone company or model for a viable, long-term business. If (and that’s a big if) TokBox is going to work, it will need to be rapidly adopted by the marketplace.” Rapid adoption hasn’t quite happened, however, and I wonder if it ever will.

But again, the guys at Bain must be able to look into the future better than us skeptics.

TokBox Takes $10 Million for Video Chat

Free online video chat service TokBox has raised a $10 million Series B round of financing led by Bain Capital. Sequoia Capital, which provided $4 million for the startup’s Series A funding, also participated in this second round.

TokBox has worked to expand its reach over the past year, developing its video chat service for web-based IM platform Meebo as well as Facebook, and the company released an Adobe AIR version of its service.

TokBox isn’t alone in this space, IMO.IM is another browser-based video-enabled chat service (founded by ex-Googlers) and Skype offers video calling as well. No one, however, has solved the biggest problem with video chat: webcam placement. Until someone builds a camera behind the monitor, video conversations will never feature eye contact, as everyone’s looking down (and away from the camera) to see the person they’re chatting with.

TokBox Releases Downloadable App for Video Chat

TokBox, a free service that allows you to talk simply with your friends and co-workers over live video, has released a new downloadable application built using Adobe Air.

With the new application, you do not have to be on TokBox’s website to accept or make video calls. Installing is a breeze (something that is common to applications built using Adobe AIR). When installed, it acts like your usual instant messaging application. Just click on a friend or colleague will enable you to do video calling and get immediate notification when someone is calling.