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Video conversations with up to 8 people for free. No login, no installs (appear.in)
149 points by ecthiender 1326 days ago | hide | past | web | 72 comments | favorite

I've had recent issues with the pc (dev) version of chrome and most of these (talky, opentok and vline specifically) just freeaing eventually... although I have to say I do love that they exist at all, and they work fantastically on android chrome.

This is a pretty interesting app to have conversations with friends.

Business calls, I've had a problem with video. It's often too cumbersome and gives too much info about the visual aspect of myself when it's not necessary and when I don't want it to happen. (e.g., getting on a call with a stranger or clients.) Using the "voice" call, I won't worry over washing my face at 9am in the morning.

Which is the reason I created http://voicechatapi.com (shameless plug)

This is pretty cool. Would it be possible to get basic text chat in there? Some people have no mic but could benefit from this anyway. Thanks for your hard work!

By the way, it works fine for me in Chrome.

If you look at the bottom of the room, there is (hopefully) a text chat :-)

Are you comfortable with the audio quality? I can't hear anything properly but video works well.

Haha I went to https://appear.in/test and by pure randomness somebody else also chose that name, and we were staring at each other. hahah

Lol me too. Hi guy from Washington.

no one is there now...

ditto lol

How is this app different from the WebRTC demo available at https://apprtc.appspot.com since a long time?

None of them are. There are a gazillion of these on the web. They are just webrtc demo + other things like "oh look you can also chat" or "oh your room has a nice name". And so on.

Now not to say that it is bad thing. It is great. It is what Google wanted (well they want people to use the web more and use Microsoft and iOS only products less).

So you as a developer know that underneath the wiring is really simple and basic but hey if users like it and it works out for them. One of these products might win.

How much time do you think it took them to make this whole thing along with their website? I would say as much time as they spent making a clean website for their product.

It's true that the basic concept of appear.in is pretty similar to a lot of other WebRTC prototypes made (like the ones you mention). However we are trying to turn appear.in into a commercial product that will be continually improved and adapted to users' needs (that will likely change over time). It is very easy to get a working prototype up and running (appear.in started as a summer project, and three interns made the first working prototype in two weeks: http://comoyo.github.io/blog/2013/08/05/video-meetings-in-th...), but getting it to work smoothly in all kinds of situations, on all kinds of networks and handling bugs (which occur frequently) is another story. Not to mention keeping the product up to date and making use of all the improvements that are made in the different browsers.

We think that widespread adoption of a service like this will only be achieved if the service "just works" and is adapted to users' needs through constant development, and also through building a living brand that people love. We are currently a team of 8 working full-time on this, not only programming, but also with marketing, design & user testing.

Do you know any app which allows up to 15 participants for free or by issuing one time payment? My company is mostly ok with voice standups and meetings but from time to time we want to experiment with video ones. We are still not sure about them so we want to play around a little bit before deciding to switch to a video tool. The problem is, most of the tools have a limitation for a number of allowed participants so small that we cannot give them a try during our weekly meeting because not all team members can join. Is there anything that allows higher number? Or something that can be used once without recurring payments? Must work on mac os, linux and windows. Preferably without using browser plugins or java solution but if that's not possible then we can go with them. So far hangout with their 10ppl limit and good compatibility across platforms seems best. Webrtc solutions worked for us in technical terms but were limited to 8 participants usually. Why always 8? I really hope there is something out there that we could use.

There is no limitation except driven by architecture.

Usually there is a limit on how many you can do without putting a conference server, 5 is quite okay for HD video on a laptop. Typically in these cases (mesh scenarios) the CPU/memory is a limitation than capacity. Upto 10, if everyone is doing SD video. So services pick a number 7 or 8 to limit the participants in a video some doing HD, some doing SD. This number is smaller if you pick iPad/tablets and higher if you are on a MacPro or something with multiple GPUs (possibly in these cases limited by capacity).

If the service builds a MCU (or conference bridge) those typically do not have such limitations, it then depends on how you multiplex the streams, mix them or selectively forward them, if the server is just forwarding packets, or decrypting them and re-encrypting them because it is transcoding or re-writing RTP headers, etc.

Give http://wwww.dozeo.com a shot.

Thanks :)

Try http://vidless.com. We've had up to 40 people in a room there, and it's free, no accounts, plugins or anything.

Looks good, and seems simple to get going.

Two comments:

- I set the background image but it didn't appear (the dialog box for that seems to have no 'OK' or 'Save' button)

- It would be good to have a microphone level indicator, so I can see whether my microphone has been properly detected and working. There is one in Google Hangout but is rather small and not very good IMHO.

Thanks for the feedback, I'm product manager for appear.in. We'll note down microphone level indicator and consider it for our road map.

As for the background image issue, can you e-mail us at feedback@appear.in for follow up?

I just tried it with 2 friends and it works amazingly well. There are few things lately that I can say blew my mind - but this has. Really nice fucking job!

Developer @ appear.in here. I've been following this thread today, answering some questions and reporting bugs back to the team. I would just like to say a big and sincere thank you for this comment. I just posted it to our internal mailing list. In all honesty, feedback like yours truly make our day, motivates us, and makes us work even harder to create a kickass service. So again, thank you!

Check also Google Hangouts, allows 10 people. Although requires google login. I don't remember whether I installed anything for it.

Yes it also requires installing something, forget it. I'm not gonna install backdoors in my machine.

This is great, thanks!

Fyi, there's also screen-sharing (hover the mouse over your own window for the option), which works nicely (Chrome).

and no video for me. just a blank grey screen. screenshot: http://www.webpagescreenshot.info/img/52ecb7fe4992f4-1130851...

Hi, developer who caused this error here. This should be fixed now. Please let us know if you still experience this issue!

I got the same problem when I opened it on Safari but it's working fine with Chrome. I tried it with a friend of mine and it works fine. But I think audio needs a bit of fine tuning.

Same here. But I checked it using my mobile.

This is great. Simple and seamless. Got online with a couple of guys at the office right away to test it and worked pretty flawlessly. Couple lags here and there but no biggie (likely network on our side).

Didn't get to test desktop share but if it works as well as the video chat did we will definitely be using this for client presentations.

We would previously use Skype and/or join.me for client calls, but like gchat a login or installs were necessary (even if only for the host). This is a much simpler and elegant alternative. Particularly with the background option.

Love it so far!

>"We need access to your camera and microphone to get started.

>"No, I'm in my underwear. Please take me back." //

Lol, nice tone.

Dialog to enable webcam didn't appear for me though.

Kubuntu 13.10, FF 26.0

There is a known bug with Firefox 26 on Ubuntu 13.10 (and apparently other, similar Linux setups). Track progress here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=750011

https://appear.in/microryza can we get to 8 people?

Heh. I did join, saw two faces, and about 4 "we're really sorry..." error messages on the other windows. And then then someone kicked me out :-|

try again

Hmm well is that because you are a developer and just fixed it or because that should be what one would expect users to do. If it is the later then it is a failure because as soon as something doesn't work, and if it requires people to "keep trying again" until is randomly does, you'll lose the majority of customers to competitors.

Using firefox (26.0) on OS X works just fine. I get prompted to share my camera and microphone.

Firefox 26 on Debian Linux, however, never shows the prompt. The appear.in page just asks me to use the menu that should have (but didn't) appear.

This is unfortunately a bug internally in Firefox which affects certain builds of Linux. See related bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/firefox/+bug/12170...

Thanks for the pointer to the bug report!

I've just checked, and the (Linux Firefox) camera/mic permissions menu fails to appear on the other WebRTC conferencing sites linked in this thread, too. So it's definitely not just appear.in.

[Edited to add:] For others suffering from the same problem, the bug report linked in parent suggests it may be fixed in FF 27, which will apparently be released during the week of Feb 4th.

No luck from GP's Firefox OS, but seems to be working on my CentOS workstation. Good job!

LE: I'm actually really, really impressed by this. It's bloody great, good job to these guys and to whoever works on similar projects.

We have some guys working on FirefoxOS at our office actually (Telenor Digital does many things). We tested appear.in on a recent build of master, and it worked! Hopefully it will make it out to consumers soon. You can track support through this issue: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=750011

That's awesome! Keep up the good job. Currently I'm on but don't mind waiting.

I just talked to the FxOS guys, and they hope the support will be out around 1.4 or 1.5, but no promises. I don't know much more than that unfortunately.

Appear.in is quite easy to integrate into a web app as well. Just generate a random link and send users off to chat: blog.iterate.no/2014/01/29/youtube-for-webrtc/

Getting an empty dark gray page on iOS.

I realize Mobile Safari may not be a supported browser, but a graceful failure with some sort of explanation wouldn't hurt, would it?

Developer @ appear.in here. For lack of better ways of communicating, at which page did you experience this? We tested it on our own devices but couldn't replicate.

http://appear.in - just tried on iPad and got the same dark gray page with absolutely nothing on it. Not running iOS 7 on either of the devices though, perhaps check that?

We will investigate further. Thank you for reporting this! We definitely want graceful degradation for iOS clients.

So frictionless, really impressive work. Well done.

Bug: I clicked the little down arrow to minimize the chat window and it beachballed Chrome (latest version, OS X).

Pretty awesome overall, though!

I agree, that seems like an overreaction to closing a text chat. Will put that bug on my hit list, thanks for reporting it!

Tried it. Asked my friend to try on his iPhone. He installed Chrome as recommended but Chrome on iPhone is not supported.

Chrome on iPhone is just a different front end for Safari.

Screen sharing dialog box UI tells me to paste a URL into chrome - but I'm unable to actually copy from it.

  Failed to get camera access.
  Please grant camera access to use appear.in
I have no idea how.

Which browser and OS are you on? Depending on that, it should be somewhere near the top. Firefox has a tendency to close the accept dialogue if you change tabs, and you can retrieve it by clicking the camera icon in the address bar. Unfortunately there is no way for us to improve this UX from our end, but we are working on more informative "waiting" pages.

Same here. Firefox 26 on Windows 7. No popups, no messages, no camera icon, no clues whatsoever as to how to "grant camera an access to use appear.in".

I'm getting the same thing. Firefox on Ubuntu

This is probably related to a known bug with Firefox 26 on Ubuntu 13.10 (and apparently other, similar Linux setups). Track progress here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=750011

Sweet. For all my criticisms of G+, its voice/video chat has been a useful and novel feature.

Is there some sort of end to end encryption available for this or any other WebRTC-based VOIP app?

Developer on appear.in here: Everything between peers is encrypted using SRTP end-to-end by default. From our FAQ:

"All communication between your browser and appear.in is transmitted over an encrypted connection (SSL). Video and audio transmitted in the service is sent directly between the participants in a room and is encrypted (SRTP) with client generated encryption keys. In some cases, due to NAT/firewall restrictions, the encrypted data content will be relayed through our server."

What about the text chat messages?

At this point in time, all chat messages are relayed through our server. These messages are sent over an encrypted socket to our server, then relayed. This means that we do have the ability to read the messages (they're not encrypted), but we do not store them, read them, or in any way allow your privacy to be compromised knowingly.

We have strict access controls to the server, but the messages are sent via Amazon. We realise that this is not ideal, and we want to, when the DataChannels API has matured a bit, move message sending to a strict P2P model as well. There are some issues with that (total ordering of messages for one) which need to be solved first, but we're positive that those challenges can be solved.

also, check out their tutorial about embedding a chat room in your app. http://appearin.github.io/tutorial.html

pretty cool!

this is awesome it reminds me of how much i loved meetings.io before they sold

Go Telenor!


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