Over the last six months Google has been ramping up Friend Connect, its social online identity platform that’s a direct rival of Facebook Connect (both products opened up to the public last December). Since then Google and third party developers have released a slew of gadgets and features, including the Social Bar, Recommendations, and Comment Translation. One of the latest to join the fray is ClackPoint, a powerful new gadget that integrates realtime text chat, voice conferencing and basic document sharing with Friend Connect.
The gadget works as you’d expect. Clicking on the ‘Call’ button will activate your microphone, and your voice can then be heard by anyone else in your chat room. Alternatively, you can dial in from a phone to one of the site’s dedicated lines (hit the button in the upper right hand corner for a list of numbers). There’s also a standard text-based group chat.
As far as sharing goes, you can participate in a group-edited notepad, import PDF slides that can be viewed by other chat members, and quickly send out a poll to everyone else in the chat room. You can try out the gadget for yourself here.
While the gadget could probably be used in a business setting, I suspect most businesses will stick with products like WebEx for their serious calls. That said, this would be perfect for more casual group meetings where real identities are still important (for example, a meeting discussing plans for your childs’ soccer team). For more, check out the Google blog post introducing the gadget. You can also find a full directory of gadgets available here.