The Japanese company KLab launched Cheerz before. They now re-launch a lite
version which does not draw as heavy on the browser as the earlier version. It
rather starts and runs very smoothly. Cheerz has a web page check-in, stick man
figures with Twitter/Facebook-images as heads, and chat in chat balloons. It
allows you to rate ("cheer") web pages. A billboard shows messages of people who
commented the page earlier.
The system is built on XMPP with small extensions. It is a browser add-on for
Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer (!). The addon communicates with the
Cheerz XMPP server, joins and leaves XMPP chat rooms as the user enters and
Following a month after Meebo, here comes the second Web Check-In.
OneTrueFan lets you tell your friends which
web pages you visit.
It allows registration via Twitter account, which is cool, automatically
assigns an icon and fits well with the current pseudo-realtime-still-asyncronous
trend. Google SideWiki is basically the same. You leave notes on Web pages, so
lets count OneTrueFan ans the #3 Web Check-In. The race is on.
The buzz says,
OneTrueFan is the Foursquare for Websites. OneTrueFan says:
"In its current form, the Web is a largely uninhabited world, where people can
only see each others' artifacts and the vast majority of us never leave an
imprint on our favorite sites.
OneTrueFan was born out of two ideas: 1) experiences are better when shared and
2) changing human behavior is next to impossible. Our first service enables
people to automatically show up on the pages they visit. Other people can then
discover them and interesting new content.
OneTrueFan is not a social network in the traditional sense, in that social
networks attempt to localize an experience and/or lock users into a single
social graph. OneTrueFan is the anti-network, bringing to light the communities
that already exist at your favorite sites, with no additional effort on your
OneTrueFan is a browser add-on (which will work on any web site) and a
work for all users even if they did not install the add-on).
OneTrueFan appears to be funded with $1.2M. The company was founded July, 2010.
The Japanese company KLab announced Cheerz, a
system for avatars on web pages as browser bar at the
Infinity Ventures Summit Kyoto 2010. The system was presented by CEO Tetsuya Sanada
(真田 哲弥) at the Launch Pad
event during the summit.
The system is scheduled to launch in a few months.
It seems as if the virtual-presence, layered-virtual-world,
check-in-to-web-sites topic is heating up.
Googlin (beta) launched a desktop client
which shows avatars on web pages. Googlin has many features including file
transfer, a backpack of media, scalable avatar size, an avatar configurator, a
round menu, a buddy list, and a HTML version similar to weblin.lite, and
probably much more.
Googlin uses the XMPP protocol and Adobe AIR.
It seems as if the Googlin people learned a lot from Weblin. Googlin started
development shortly before Weblin ceased operation. There are not many users
yet, but they just started the beta. Googlin seems to be supported by a former
Weblin investor, the Swiss Mountain Partners Group.
Meebo will launch a “first of its kind”
check-in system for the Web , using a new browser bar extension called the
Meebo MiniBar. Users will be able to “share” their location by checking in
through Meebo when they visit a particular Website. Meebo users will have the
option to build up a Meebo social graph by friending and following other users.
Meebo started as a browser based multi instant messaging system. They got
millions of users quickly, expanded to mobile and position also as a social
network. Meebo currently reaches 180 million unique users monthly. They
just closed another $25M funding, "as content sharing gets hotter" as they
Of course, there have been other "check-in systems for the web".
Every system listed here checks or checked in users on web sites where they
meet other users. But this is the first company to launch a browser bar web
check-in at this scale.
A comparison of social graphs with virtual presence. Both enhance the social
experience while browsing the web. The author argues, that web sites keep more
control over the user experience using a social graph API. Browser overlays like
RocketOn and Yoowalk distract from the web site and might turn into a poor user
experience because of a steeper learning curve.
Members of the weblin community reactivated basic weblin services. Weblins can
continue to meet and chat on web pages. Some members
found out about the
login process and created a simple but effective way to log in. Others
provided web space and are running XMPP chat components on private servers.
Apparently weblin was offline for only a few days, when the community effort
kicked in. Weblin can now be downloaded and installed again from
http://www.freeavat4r.com. Avatar customization is only rudimentary
available. But there are
guidelines to create your own avatar.
Google launched its new Sidewiki feature. Sidewiki opens an
annotation sidebar on every Web page. Sidewiki is a Google Toolbar feature. You
can leave notes (annotations) on every Web page and see notes of other people.
The annotations appear is a sidebar. This is not the browser sidebar, but an
extension driven page element. The feature looks quite advanced. It has rating
system integrated, crowd driven spam identification, you can choose to see only
annotations in your language. While posting an annotation you can send the same
text also to your blogs. Of course, it is integrated with your Google profile so
that people reading your contributions can learn more about you.
The toolbar sends every Web page URL to Google's annotations server. This is a
technical requirement. Google informs you about it before you activate Sidewiki.
Still, sending all URLs to one company is a severe privacy issue. Maybe not so
much in the case of Google, because Google tracks our movement anyway through
Analytics and the History feature. Anyone who runs the Toolbar with Siterank
display already sends the URL stream to Google.
The protocol is a simple unencrypted HTTP Query/POST combination.
Sidewiki is NOT real virtual presence, as you do not see the people who are on
the page at the same time. Sidewiki is also not a new concept. Annotations have
been here before, as early as 1999. But Sidewiki it is important for virtual
presence, because it shows, that a major player is moving closer. A big
advantage of annotations compared to virtual presence is the fact, that
contributions persist. Chats on a Web page are transient. They are gone after
you leave. Annotations stay for some time. You can leave your mark in the world.
Important for virtual presence is, that Google invests in the notion, that Web
pages are places. They are not just an anchor for places, like in
Lively. The plain Web page identified by it's URL is a place. Can't wait for
the next step.
Weblin went offline early this morning. The shutdown has been announced
Layered virtual world Weblin is ceasing operations. A newsletter sent to all
subscribers advertises the 3D chat system ClubCooee as a possibility for weblin
users to keep contact after the shutdown of weblin. But from the point of view
of virtual presence systems they could also advertise Second Life or IMVU
instead of ClubCooee. ClubCooee is not a layered virtual world or virtual
presence system. There is now only system that would count as a replacement:
An intresting review of virtual
|VPTN-3 has been submitted to the emerging IETF working group MMOX for
consideration as MMOX data protocol:
The protocol is proposed as input to the MMOX BoF and WG which is currently
being chartered. It shows, that the main point of interoperability, namely the
instantiation of avatars can be achieved with a very simple yet powerful
protocol. It shall serve as a working showcase of light weight interoperation
and as a reference point for the discussion.
The protocol is Web/HTTP based, actually the transport is HTTP, the container
format is XML and avatar data can use any MIME type. The architecture is
inherently distributed by using basically XML to organize asset URLs.
The protocol has been used for 2 years with 3 Mio. users and 25.000 concurrent
clients. The primary purpose of the protocol is to enable "simulators" to
instantiate ("rez") avatars of users they meet in a virtual world. The protocol
has been designed for interoperability, specifically to be able to use avatars
from closed virtual worlds on the Web. But it is equally suited to bridge from
one world to another. Actually, the Web is regarded as just one virtual world
with many regions, which are commonly called Web sites.
The protocol also offers a solution for the "foreign updates" problem, where the
avatar changes in one world and the change should be displayed instantly in
another world. Say your WoW avatar walks in SL and an effect times out. That
should be visible in SL with minimum delay but also without maintaining long
lists of subscriptions. The protocol has a lean way to communicate changes.
The protocol addresses the "the low hanging fruit" of simulator
interoperability. But it is easily extensible, e.g. to virtual goods ("dragon
heads"). It supports variants of avatar models if multiple formats are required.
It provides trust using XML Signature (not specified here, but in use). OAuth is
the canonical choice for access authentication and selective disclosure of
I hope that the task of the MMOX WG will be restricted to interoperability
between simulators and asset services, and that it will not include the
communication between display and simulator. There are so many different models
how worlds structure their communication between display and simulator. In some
systems the world simulation runs in the client. In many 3D worlds the simulator
is regarded as a "server" which forwards scene changes to the display. Games
like WoW do much more simulation in the client than Second Life. In the near
future there will be simulation including rendering in the cloud with only thin
displays. For this reason the MMOX WG should only work on simulator
interoperability and keep the display- simulator communication out of the scope.
PMOG is a Firefox/Flock extension which lets you play an MMOG on the Web. Web
pages are treated as virtual places. You can put items, like mines, treasure
chests, watch dogs on web pages. Other people will find them. You can create
quests for other people, do your own quests, earn virtual currency, and level
The hot news is, that
PMOG just added chat to the game application. The chat is a separate window.
There are no avatars on the page, yet. But anywhere you go (on the Web) you can
join the PMOG chat channel of the page. PMOG uses IRC. A good choice, because
IRC is a very mature chat system. Proven server software, lots of clients,
simple protocol, and thanks to years of attacks on IRC networks very stable and
The chat channel name seems to be derived from the web server domain name
omitting "www". But i's not just the second level of the DNS name. PMOG can also
cope with SLDs. So, there is a bit more sophistication behind than just the
server name. The effective mapping is very similar to the
virtual-presence.org default URL mapping with the exception, that rooms are
of course IRC rooms.
Everything is now run from the toolbar. You can see who is at a website, or who
was recently at a website, view their profile, add comments, send messages, etc.
Moving everything from the sidebar to the toolbar greatly improves the
usefulness of the application. Also, iosurf has moved from a synchronous to an
asynchronous presence system. So, instead of two people having to be at the same
website at the exact same time to see each other, now two users can see each
other if they've both been to the same website within two weeks. This helps in
the visibility of other iosurfers while surfing the web.
3.0 will only be available for firefox for the near future. But it may be
ported to IE when it's feature set is more defined.
There are hints, that Sega is developing a
3D virtual world which plays on the desktop (even behind desktop icons) instead
of a window or full screen. The
video shows a presentation of the system. The interesting point with respect
to virtual presence is the fact, that a user navigates a web browser to control
her position in the virtual world. Any time the browser changes the page, the
avatar is moved to a different location. The landscape changes and other people
appear. This sounds (and looks) very much like virtual presence with a 3D
display behind the browser on the desktop, not on the browser and not in a
separate window, but still: the location in the virtual world and the people you
meet is controlled by the URLs you navigate.
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||© Heiner Wolf, 2005