I just installed an Incircles widget that enables live group chat on my blog. I found it on TechCrunch and I think it's pretty cool for an alpha.
Here's what's great about it:
- Easiest install of any widget I've ever used. I think I picked a color, told it where it was going... then boom, I was done.
- It's built in flash and the embed code is flash, which means it will pretty much work anywhere.
- Slick interface. It's very easy to message other users and join in.
- Links to popular pages. I can easily check out other pages where people are chatting with InCircle widgets.
Here's what needs some work:
- Notification and popping out of the page. I don't want to keep my blog open all day, but I wouldn't mind an extra window that blinks when new people join or new messages are played. I'd probably even download a little notifier for this. An html link that opens a new popped out window of the chat I'm on would be great.
- Chat isn't visable until you start chatting yourself. Outsiders can't see what's going on in the chat or that it's even live until you jump in. This makes them look dead at first.
- Archiving and user reports. Not registering made it easy to get started, but that also means I have no backend interface for getting reports, seeing what was discussed, etc.
I also can't block certain words or users. The user thing is hard b/c no one registers to join a chat, so it's hard to ban people, but you could do it with a cookie at least temporarily.
- I'm not cookied with the same identity. Once I create a screename, it should be mine... so maybe I do want to register... or make registration optional, but what I get for registering is the ability to own my screename... b/c I don't want anyone else being ceonyc. That would allow me to be ceonyc in any chat I walked into.
- Feedflare... Allow me to put something in my RSS feed that says "X number of people chatted on this page in the last hour) that encourages clickthroughs.
All in all, nice work... I wonder how much traffic a blog needs to have for this to reach a critical mass.