TinyChat adds video and screen sharing to instant chatroom service
The screen sharing application is a bit rough around the edges. But when it works, the user that wants to share their screen with other participants clicks a button and a Java applet opens up that lets you broadcast your Windows, Linux, or OS X desktop to all participants in the conversation. One problem is that once you fire up the screen sharing application the only way to make it go away is to restart your browser and/or Java. You shouldn't have this problem if you're trying to view someone else's desktop, only if you're trying to share yours.
The video chat feature is much simpler to use. If you have a mic and/or camera plugged into your computer, you can talk to participants in the web chat face to face.
The basic service is available for free, but TinyChat also offers pro accounts with premium features like the ability to password protect and record chats. Pro members also have higher quality video. If you're using the free version you'll see a pop up asking you to sign up for a Pro account periodically. It's only supposed to pop up after 5 minutes and then again every half hour or so, but right now the nag screen appears every few minutes.
In addition to paid accounts, the folks behind TinyChat are hoping to market the application as a white box solution for web publishers looking for a way to integrate text and video chat with their web sites. For example, instead of just asking readers of a blog to leave comments, you can have them click a button to participate in a chat about a post without leaving your site.