Rounds is doing the rounds (natch!) this morning with a significant update to its video calling and instant messaging app. The company teamed up with Channel.me to add co-browsing to an already broad list of features. Users can now browse the web together during a video chat and see / control the same page at the same time. In terms of security, the experience mimics two people surfing the web in the same location (usernames are visible but passwords are hidden. for example). While users can enter any URL, the app also includes an icon grid of compatible sites, such as Google (for search), Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Amazon and eBay -- to name a few. As a refresher, Rounds lets friends watch YouTube videos and play games together during a video chat and even apply filters and scribble over each-others live video streams. It also supports instant messaging and photo sharing and ties it all together with Facebook Login. The app is available for most Android and iOS devices but is optimized to run on phones. Hit the break for the promo video and obligatory PR.
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ROUNDS ADDS CO-BROWSING TO ITS MOBILE HANGOUT NETWORK; FIRST TO LET FRIENDS SURF THE WEB TOGETHER INSIDE MOBILE VIDEO CHATS
For the First Time, Users Can Navigate the Same Webpage at the Same Time To Shop, Watch TV, Play Games or Take Photos Together Whilst Video Chatting
TEL AVIV (June 18, 2013) – Rounds (www.rounds.com) launched a new update to its popular Rounds Video Chat Hangout mobile app for iOS and Android today, becoming the first hangout network to let friends securely surf the web together during live video conversations.
The result of a partnership with Dutch startup, Channel.me, Rounds' new co-browsing feature synchronizes the touchscreen activity between users while web surfing during mobile video chatting. Rounds users can now navigate the same webpage at the same time with their friends, with both of them able to control the experience – including clicking links and typing in new URLs. Users see each other's live video streams in thumbnail form during co-browsing, allowing their live reactions to add a feeling of togetherness.
"Adding co-browsing to Rounds fits with our vision for giving friends an online hangout experiences as true as real life," said Rounds CEO and co-founder Dany Fishel. "When teens hang out in the real world, they do more than just talk – they do activities like watching TV, shopping, and taking or sharing photos together. Rounds is bringing all these activities inside video communication for the first time."
The feature is an "open URL" experience, meaning users are not restricted to which sites they visit when co-browsing during video conversations. The co-browsing experience is now compatible with Google Search, Wikipedia, Preen.Me, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Amazon, eBay, ESPN, The Huffington Post, wanelo, Imgur and TheFancy.
Security-wise, the experience resembles two friends surfing the web together on one computer in the same location. Usernames and email addresses are visible during the login process, but passwords are not. Rounds requires pre-existing Facebook friendship for users to launch video chats with each other, giving the new co-browsing feature a built-in layer of protection. For the first time, friends can browse and shop the web together from their mobile devices anywhere.
"With the growth of sales via mobile devices it becomes more important for mobile apps to create innovative services that support m-commerce and the unique behavior patterns of a mobile consumer," says Roger Entner, Founder and Lead Analyst at Recon Analytics.
Building on its signature characteristic of providing online entertainment and fun activities to teens during live video communication, co-browsing joins Rounds' other interactive features, including playing HTML5 games during video chats, watching YouTube videos together, adding Instagram-like effects and scribbling over each other's live video streams, uploading photos for joint viewing across devices, and changing view modes.
Channel.me integrated their co-browser using Rounds easy to use API, which allows developers to create synchronized HTML5 activities between users in the real-time experience of a live, mobile video chat environment.
Rounds Video Chat Hangout is available as a free download in both the iTunes App Store and Google Play, or directly via www.rounds.com. New features are expected to be added regularly throughout summer 2013.