updated 02:00 pm EDT, Fri September 9, 2011
Allows users to find special interest video chats
Mobile communication service provider fring has has added Playgrounds, a new social networking component, to its mobile and group video chat app (free, iPhone, Android). Fring users can now browse through a list of open video discussions, which the company calls Playgrounds, and then participate if the subject matter is of interest. If they don't find what they are looking for, they can then create their own chat group.
Playgrounds enables video chats with up to four participants. It also extends texting to beyond the normal 140 character constraint.
Fring initially began offering its video chat service in 2009. In addition to the new public Playgrounds, fring users can engage in free group video chat with friends, two-way video, and voice calls and text chat on Android, iPhone/iPad/iPod touch & Nokia Symbian Smartphones. The company recently added the iPad to the list of devices that could participate in cross-platform chats.
Playgrounds is likely in response to the Hangouts feature in Google+. Its method can be filtered by circles of friends but otherwise has a drop-in, drop-out approach intended to make video chat less intimidating and formal.