With its latest iPhone app update, Rounds outdoes one of the best features from Google’s Hangouts video chat.
Rounds today is kicking off 12-person group video chats on its iPhone app. Hangouts, meanwhile, currently only supports 10-person chat across mobile and desktop devices.
The update also makes it easier to video chat with anyone through Rounds’ iPhone app. Now, you can create private groups that anyone on the service can join by inputting an invite code. Previously, you could only video chat with people on your friends list. As with all of Rounds’ video chat solutions, you can also play games, listen to music, and view other media with your friends while chatting.
It’s one thing to build an app to support 12-person video chat (Rounds relies on Vidyo’s technology, which Google Hangouts also uses), but it’s another to figure out a way to make those chat windows work on a 4-inch iPhone screen. But from my brief testing, Rounds makes it simple to rearrange video windows around your screen by dragging, expanding, and shrinking windows with your finger.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to test out Rounds’ iPhone video chat with 12 people. But in a group chat with three Rounds employees from Israel, including co-founder and COO Ilan Liebovich, the session started quickly and video quality looked smooth. The new private group capability also makes it easier to add new people to video chats than Google Hangouts, which for some reason always flakes out on me when I try to invite new people.
Rounds was founded in 2008 and has raised around $10.5 million from Rhodium, Verizon Ventures, DFJ’s Tim Draper, and others.
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