Time to Gabble

A website called Gabble has been launched as a beta product by HP’s Personal Systems Group to allow people to create private video conversations.


If you have a penchant for social networking and have already signed up for Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, then you are certain to be excited by the news that Gabble has now opened its doors to the public.


Originally developed by researchers at HP Labs, Gabble has been launched as a beta product by HP’s Personal Systems Group (PSG). The Gabble service allows individuals to create private video conversations between their friends, family members or colleagues.


Gabble works with any computer or mobile device that can access the internet. To start a Gabble conversation, you just log on to the Gabble website to record a video using your webcam or by emailing or MMS-ing it from your mobile phone and posting it to your conversation.


Only the people in your group can see your posts and respond with their own videos in return.


That inbuilt privacy is crucial, says HP Labs researcher April Slayden Mitchell. ‘Unlike a lot of other web video services, we’re private by default,’ she said. ‘And we allow you to have different groups of friends instead of just one.’


Other popular video services, noted Mitchell, require you to change the permissions for each video you upload. Gabble’s conversational framework, in contrast, means that the videos you create are automatically viewable only to people already invited into a particular conversation.


‘This isn’t about sharing videos with thousands of people or storing them forever,’ said Alex Vorbau, a principal creator of Gabble along with Mitchell and fellow HP Labs researcher Mitchell Trott. ‘This is a place to communicate with the important people in your life whom you don’t get to see and with whom you’re trying to connect,’ he said. ‘It’s especially good for groups of people who live in different time zones and who share an interest that is visual in nature.’


Gabble was built using both off-the-shelf technologies and video streaming technology created by HP Labs. Mitchell, Vorbau and Trott are members of the HP Multimedia Communications and Networking Lab, many of whom helped put Gabble together.


In launching a public beta of the service, the Gabble team is hoping to offer people something useful and fun, but also to receive feedback on how such services can be improved.