OpenTok API and Hangouts Platform: Birds of a feather, which one is better?

At TokBox we can almost feel the excitement that developers are feeling for this year’s Google I/O conference, afterall our office is just a few blocks away from the Moscone Center. This afternoon we got to see Google tell developers about their Hangouts Platform and we were pretty excited to see what they had to offer.

It’s no secret that OpenTok and Hangouts share a lot of the same functionality, but we thought it would be really helpful for developers in our community if we pointed out some place where they differ. Afterall, for developers it should always be about using the best tool for the job.

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Startup Weekend Chicago

A few days ago, I wrote about going to Startup Weekend Chicago. I kept my promise.

On Friday, we started off with a series of inspiring speeches. I managed to snatch 2 minutes of fame telling everyone about the awesomeness of OpenTok.

We pitched ideas and formed groups throughout the rest of the night. There were 65 pitches, and by the end of the night everyone consolidated into 14 teams.

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TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Round 3

The year’s biggest hackathon is going to kick off in T-24 hours. Do you think we would miss it? Not a chance! We’re looking forward to sponsoring TechCrunch Disrupt’s Hackathon and Conference (this time in NYC) for the third time. Perhaps we’ll see an OpenTok powered app take home the title. Third time’s the charm, right? RIGHT?

Since the last Disrupt Hackathon, more eyeballs have been on the video chat world than ever before. How so? For starters, Google+ Hangouts is gaining traction and pushing new features (hello “On Air”), folks are anxiously awaiting the launch of AirTime (what is it already?!?), and we’ve launched the first ever iOS SDK for video chat. Not to shabby video chat industry.

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Adobe LCCS abandons ship

Today, Adobe announced it will be end-of-lifing its LiveCycle Collaboration Services (LCCS) platform at the end of this year.

For developers and websites looking to integrate face-to-face video into their websites while avoiding the heavy lifting of building their own solution, our OpenTok platform and Adobe’s LCCS offering were the two leading Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) options. Now all the folks who chose Adobe – many of whom thought they were going with the “safe” alternative – are about to be left out in the cold.

At TokBox, business is booming. So how can it be that “changes in Adobe’s strategic direction” are moving them away from such a rapidly growing market?

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We’re headin’ to SXSW

The countdown begins! Only four more days until South By Southwest kicks off, the only event where the past year’s hottest music, film and technology intersect. This year our very own Ian Small, CEO of TokBox, will be participating on a panel at SXSW Interactive. So if you’ll be in Austin for the big event, we’d love for you to catch the session live. All the details are below and we hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 13

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Social Media & Young Children: Our Kids’ Futures

With Christine Egy Rose (Founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc), Hayes Raffle (Interaction Researcher, Google Inc), Patty Chang (Co-founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc) and Svetlana Gous (Consultant/Educator)

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PC World: Video Calling is Finally Catching On

There is a dictum we use to sum up the major belief that drives all that we do at TokBox: Face to face is the future of the web.

In 2007, the company’s emphasis was very much on ‘the future’. Skype hadn’t yet moved into the mainstream.  FaceTime did not exist – in fact, the first iPhone hadn’t yet been released.  And yet, the TokBox team had a fundamental understanding that the way we communicate online would become more human, and that face to face was the most human form of communication possible over the web.

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The Rise of the Silicon Prairie

Thinc Iowa speakers

Presenters at Thinc Iowa 2011

Returning home to the midwest after spending a few years in the cultural bubble of San Francisco is a strange experience. As John Travolta’s character says in Pulp Fiction regarding Europe: “It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just… there it’s just a little different.” You’re confronted with of all the superficial differences in dress, decor and culture, and you start to remember that in Iowa it isn’t about wearing expensive clothes, or having a hip club to check out every night. It’s about sincerity, genuine friendliness, working hard, and desire to help other people. “And that,” I imagine the people presenting at Thinc Iowa would probably say, “is exactly the point.”

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Localize or Fail

I used to think that localization meant translation. As someone who has lived in the US my entire life and has no experience with international business, I didn’t know any better. I assumed that to enter a foreign market, all a company had to do was slap up translations, register a local domain, hire a US celeb to pimp the brand, then boom—10 million new users.

I wasn’t that naive of course, but I never knew what localization really meant. I never knew until I learned how unsuccessful US consumer internet companies have been at entering China. Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter—all the giants. They all tried and failed.

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What I Learned From Steve Jobs: At A Distance

Many years ago, I came to Silicon Valley to work as an engineer at Apple and got my start in video with QuickTime 1.0 and QuickTime VR.

Apple was where I found out that design and technology can not only co-exist, they can multiply together in a marvelous kind of fusion.  Even though I worked at Apple in the wilderness years – when Steve wasn’t with the company – that vision and focus on user experience was already deeply embedded in the DNA of the company.

Of all the things I learned at Apple, the fusion of design and technology, and the creative process that drives that fusion, were the most fundamental.  For me, working at Apple created a deep-seated belief in the transcendent impact of a beautifully integrated user experience.  That belief is why when I talk about my time at Apple, I often say:  “You can take the engineer out of Apple, but you can’t take Apple out of the engineer.”

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July OpenTok App Round-up

It’s hard to tell when it’s summer in San Francisco, but here at TokBox you know it’s summer when everyone’s a-video chatting. This July, lots of new OpenTok developers decided to dip their toes in the warm, inviting pool of group video chat. (not sure why…) Here are some of our favorite examples:

Group/Social Video Chat
Friend Cameo: Voice, video calling and video mail on Facebook
SocialHangouts:  G+ Hangouts meets FB Video Calling with multi-user video chat
Tanglr.TV:  Group co-viewing of online live events
EpicMafia: Online Mafia game – with video to look ’em in the eyes

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