This already leaked last week, but AOL’s new video chat service just officially launched in beta. This no-download, no-login, web-based service allows users to quickly set up video chats with up to three additional people. To get started, you simply head over to aim.com/av, give the site access to your camera and microphone. AV then gives you a shortened link that you can send to your friends.
With regards to features, the service is pretty basic. Indeed, there are really no features to write about here besides the fact that you can add your name on top of the video with your webcam’s video. This, of course, is also the whole point of AV (tagline: “fun, easy video chat”) and I wouldn’t be surprised if this service turned out to be quite popular because of its simplicity.
Interestingly, AV forces users to update to Flash 10.3, which was just released earlier today. This means that users who still rely on older browsers (pre-Internet Explorer 7, for example), won’t be able to use this service. According to Digital Trend’s Geoff Duncan, AOL plans to launch a mobile version of the service soon, though, which will likely mean there will be native apps for Android and iOS devices.
The closest competitor to AV is likely TinyChat, which established itself as one of the leaders of Flash-based browser-based video chat services over the last year.