MSG, the AJAX incarnation of BuddySpace Instant Messenger, this week adds video chat to round out its unique "Seven Opens" philosophy: Open Source code, Open University integration with the OpenLearn environment, OpenFire’s Jabber/XMPP server, Open Registration for all, Open Location to mashup with Google Maps, Open Embedding to encourage widget placement elsewhere, and now Open video chat, providing one-click integration with FlashMeeting, MeBeam and future videochat services.
MSG has been Open Source since the beginning, and has been developed as part of the Open University’s OpenLearn programme (see links below), funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Behind the scenes it runs on top of the OpenFire (originally called WildFire) Jabber/XMPP Open Source server from JiveSoft.
Beyond the above three, recent developments towards even more ‘opens’ include the following four:
Location: MSG allows users to specify their own locations, and displays them via an integrated mashup with Google Maps.
Registration: anyone can now self-register on KMi’s msg.open.ac.uk Jabber/XMPP server, without a formal or group-signup process
Embedding: MSG ‘widgets’ and ‘presence maps’ can be embedded separately on any web page, providing a true ‘presence everywhere’ capability. A custom widget for Netvibes has already been deployed, and similar ones for Facebook and other environments are now in development.
Video chat: during any individual text-chat, a ‘start video chat’ link facilitates a one-click launch of 1-1 videochat (which can be expanded to multiparty by inviting others). Users of MSG integrated with OpenLearn will automatically launch a FlashMeeting videochat, using the same identity and authorization shared for OpenLearn, MSG, and FlashMeeting. Users of the experimental MSG server running at KMi (msg.open.ac.uk) will have access to other videochat technologies, ultimately available in an open ‘a la carte’ selection. The first of these is provided by MeBeam, and, like FlashMeeting, relies on the user having an up-to-date version of Flash installed. How is this ‘open’? Because it doesn’t matter which client the person you are chatting with is using! They can be on MSN Messenger, GTalk, other Jabber clients… it makes no difference, since they only need to click on a URL that is automatically sent to them.
These latest developments have been created by Alex Little, whose blog, linked below, contains late-breaking announcements and thoughts concerning these and related activities.
- MSG: The World’s Simplest Instant Messenger
- The original BuddySpace
- Alex Little’s Home Page / Blog