We get asked all the time how TokBox is different from Skype. These days when the question comes up I think about our friends at Tutor Trove.

A few months ago, Eli Luberoff – the CEO of Tutor Trove – showed me his whiteboard application for online tutoring. It blew me away:
• It has text and drawing tools.
• It has math and physics functions, with real-time graphing.
• It has document upload and sharing.
• It is export-able.
• It is fast. It’s really, really fast.

One thing it didn’t have was integrated video chat – and there was the rub. Eli wanted to bring video chat into the tutoring experience and thus far had been suggesting Skype to users. Now this isn’t a bad solution, but it’s not ideal:

• everyone involved would need to have Skype installed and be signed up / logged in
• the Skype window would be off to one-side and the whiteboard would be off to another

So you can imagine some fumbling to get both your whiteboard and your Skype up and running (especially if some of you don’t already have it installed). And then the windows arranged in some way that you like. And then inevitably some back and forth between the windows when you video chat, then graph a system of equations, then chat, then back to equations, then chat.

We think Eli’s whiteboard is too awesome to have video chat take away from it, rather than enhance it. That’s why we’re so psyched that Tutor Trove is using OpenTok to weave in the video chat streams within their whiteboard in a way that fits – right within the app and accessible with one click.

We hope Tutor Trove users like the new video feature as much as we do, and that the face-to-face tutoring makes online learning that much more engaging – and fun.