Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Simple videoconferencing in Second Life

A simple videoconferencing experiment in Second Life, using Gmail video chat.

In my previous post on Telepresence Education for a Smarter World I wrote about the importance of videoconferencing and how it can add to immersion in VR worlds. So I made this simple experiment using Gmail video chat.

The result is surprisingly good, vith very clear video and voice. Note that Google video conferencing may soon become multiuser (more than 2) and integrated with Google Apps (Gmail, Google Docs, calendars etc.), so this could be a very good solution for videoconferencing and collaboration in Second Life with some tweaks:

1) It should be possible to detatch the video screenlet (second image), or make it full prim. In this first test, pressing the full screen button displays the video full screen on the PC, but it should be full screen on the prim. The video screenlet cannot be detatched because of pop-up blockers. I made the video in the first image full screen by tweaking the texture parameters, but this is not an elegant solution.
2) It should be possible to access a password protected website and show it to other users without asking them to login. In this first test, other users see the Gmail login screen on the prim. If we can do something about this, Google Apps could become a VERY good solution for videoconferencing and collaboration in Second Life.

I am sure 1) and 2) can be solved with some tweaking and/or programming SL side and/or Google Apps side. Ideas?