Video chat tool TokBox on Thursday morning quietly slipped in a new feature called public feed, which lets anyone with a Web cam leave a message for others on the service to reply to. Until now, the service has been mainly a P2P chat service between people who know one another, but this new feature is turning it into a social network for budding Web cam enthusiasts.
Seesmic, another video start-up, has had this as its main feature until recently, when it's gone toward blog owners to get them to use its video recording and threading for video comments.
One thing that separates this new feature from Seesmic's is that your replies don't show up underneath other people's videos. You can reply to anyone's public video directly, and even call that person, but others won't see your response, making the conversation a little one-sided. Still, it's a nice addition to viewing what other people are up to without instigating a live chat with them, and I can see publicized replies being added later on down the line.
The feature goes hand-in-hand with another people-finding tool that was recently introduced. If you're friends with another TokBox user and you two share similar friends, it'll pull up a listing of "people you may know" the same way Facebook does.
The service also recently introduced AIM and MSN integration, so you'll be able to pull in your buddy list from either of those services and chat with your buddies on the service's Webtop.
Facebook chat users have also not been left out in the dark, as the company quietly released a Firefox plug-in Wednesday that lets you add video chat to Facebook's chat service. Once installed, you get a new option in FB chat to send someone a video chat request which will send them a link to a special TokBox room where both of you can talk without leaving the page.