Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Is Here & It’s Really Good

Matthew Hughes 04-02-2014

Video conferencing isn’t something most people get excited about. Until recently, the field has been dominated by the likes of Polycom and Cisco in the enterprise sphere, and Skype and Google Plus picking up the slack in the consumer sphere.


Commonly, video conferencing 10 Tips To Help You Look Good During Your Next Video Conference Here are 10 tips on how to impress your fellow attendees or interviewer and enhance the overall video conferencing experience. Read More hasn’t been done especially well. For the most part Skype stutters and glitches out more than a Max Headroom marathon, even with a fast internet connection. Meanwhile, users of Google Plus Hangouts are required to sign up for a Google account and install a bulky, bloated plugin before chatting to their mates.

People have been crying out for a decent video conferencing app for ages. Everyone was using Google Plus A Guide to Google Tools: Tips and Tricks You Can't Live Without Find tips, tricks, and hacks that'll help you make better use of Google tools you already use. The guide covers five main Google Services. Read More . We thought that was it. We were wrong. Meet

HTML5 Video Conferencing is a slick, visually beautiful, and snappy take on the Google Hangouts model. HTML5 only (here’s a HTML5 tutorial for beginners Get Started With HTML5 You’ve heard of HTML5. Everybody is using it. It's being heralded as the savior of the Internet, allowing people to create rich, engaging web pages without resorting to using Flash and Shockwave. Read More ). No flash. No plugins. No sign-ups. No bullshit.

Produced by Norwegian telecommunications titan Telenor, allows you to share your webcam, microphone, and screen with up to 8 people. Inviting people to your hang out is simply a matter of sharing a link.

It uses WebRTC (real time communication). This is a recently announced feature which uses simple JavaScript APIs and HTML5 to stream content in real-time. This is integrated into Firefox, Opera (Webkit only), and Google Chrome, with IE and Safari yet to show it any love.


Privacy nuts will get a kick out of this service. No content from your video conference is stored on their servers, and traffic is encrypted with strong SSL encryption.

How Does It Work?

Creating a videoconferencing room with literally couldn’t be any easier.

Navigate to the site. You’ll be prompted to create a room. Give it a name (ideally something that is easy enough to remember) and click ‘create’.



You’ll then be prompted to grant access to your microphone and camera. If you’re happy with this, allow it and proceed forwards.


You’ll then see yourself appear on the screen. Huzzah, It works! Now, time to invite some friends to your conversation. Remember that link you created earlier? That’s all you need to pass on to your friends in order for them to join your room.



Once they’ve joined the room and granted access to their camera and microphone, they’ll automatically appear in the page.


That’s pretty much it. If you wish to claim the room for yourself, you can assign a code to it, thus preventing anyone else from getting dibs on your meeting home.

There are some advantages to having your own room. Firstly, owners of the room get an adorable little crown next to your video feed, showing all other participants in the chat who’s in charge. You can also change the background of the room, and you can lock the room to other participants.


Owners of a room can also eject troublesome participants. This is handy if someone’s mic is on the fritz and emitting a high-pitched wail, or if you’re just feeling particularly malicious.


You can also screenshare. This works pretty much as it does on Google Plus Hangouts, although you’ll have to set a flag in your web-browser for that to work. Instructions are below in the screenshot.



Here’s the big question. How was the audio and video quality? In one word, excellent.

I tested it with a friend based in the United Kingdom. There wasn’t any perceivable lag on either of our ends, and video and audio quality was nothing short of superb. One could speculate that this is possibly an advantage of being owned by one of the largest telecoms companies in the world, with all the expertise that comes with that.


Will crush Skype and Google Plus Hangouts? God, I hope so. There’s so much to love about this amazing little site. It’s fast, based upon open technologies and super-simple. They even host their developer documentation on Github.

But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Image Credit: Steve Browbrick

Related topics: Google Hangouts, Skype, Video Chat.

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  1. Sebastien
    April 17, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Have you try you can record the meeting!

  2. Sebastien
    April 17, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Have you try I would recommend it. there is a conference record possibility.

  3. Allen
    January 11, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I'm looking for a way to audio record an .mp3 of my conversation with my clients. Anyone got any suggestions? is saying its in the works, but need a solution now.


  4. Graeme
    December 1, 2017 at 10:45 am

    We use for video conferencing with Uk, France, Germany and Kenya.

    It's very, very hit and miss if everyone can hear each other and when compared to say Google Hangouts, it's not a good service.

    Limited browser support is also an issue.

  5. Mike
    May 16, 2016 at 8:27 am

    APPEAR.IN is an excellent application of WebRTC and HTML5. Plus the coders are responsive to questions and feedback, typically unheard of with many IT companies.
    We have had minimal problems. Mike, Ham Radio Station K5HUM

  6. Anony Mouse
    February 4, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Wow...the back lighting in the sample screenshots is horrible. WTF!?

  7. Anonymous
    October 31, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I've used it and so far the best I've senn, very easy and flexibel, audio and video quality is great, well done. ;)

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 31, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Glad you like it, Michael!

  8. Anonymous
    October 16, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Apart from you can also try EZTalks

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 31, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Cool. What do you like about EZTalks?

  9. Jacob
    March 5, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    We as a company gave up on and actually switched to hangouts because appear doesn't have the same visual fidelity (when you add more than 2 people) that hangouts does, and it doesn't let you have as many people.

    And certainly, the screen-sharing is better on hangouts.

    It is a wonderful concept, and it's major benefit is the URL function. It's much easier to create a persisting meeting that you can refer back to, a major pitfall of hangouts.

    But in the end, we needed something that could handle the bandwidth. Maybe we'll refer back to it in the future.

  10. Uwe
    April 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I tried it and it works - with connection problem. Considering it is still new, I am fine with that. My question is: what is in it for Telnor? Why are they doing it?

  11. FAHIM
    April 1, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I have tried through my smartphone using wifi and connect to my desktop PC which uses wired ISP connection. Every thing works fine except the voice !!!! not coming up! volume is on. smart phone records and play perfectly but it fails on video/voice chat why ?

  12. Jkjack
    April 1, 2014 at 1:17 am

    does work on android devices or only via computer?

  13. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    It would help to know what firewall ports are required. I've been asked to take a second look at this by my manager, and agree it looks good, but a lack of firewall documentation is a major blocker for us to get it setup for a trial here. Also the requirement to have audio/video, and lack of text chat - any idea when these will be resolved? I tweeted the last question.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Unless I'm wrong, I think you only need port 443 open, because WebRTC is basically just HTTP/HTTPS traffic.

      That said, try asking Appear.In and let me know what they say! :)

  14. Angela A
    February 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Wow, so good for getting people who aren't tech savvy into a chat.

    • Matthew H
      February 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Yeah, it's pretty awesome. It's basically Google Plus hangouts my nan could use.

  15. Muktanil D
    February 15, 2014 at 1:51 am

    I tried but could not get the audio to work...sadly I had to go back to skype.

    • Matthew H
      February 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Ah, what a pity. I've not found any issues with it, so far.

  16. Anonymous
    February 11, 2014 at 2:11 am

    I'm all for anything that gets me out from under Google's web of surveillance.

  17. Anonymous
    February 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm
  18. Ian H.
    February 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    @Bjørn Remseth

    Thanks for the info - the bit about the point-to-point connection is what I was most concerned about. While you may have a point about connecting to a server to reduce the number of incoming streams, that's where company growth could limit the scaling potential (although with a Telco backing them up, it seems reasonable to assume they can keep up).

    Thanks for taking the time to answer!

  19. Dennis
    February 5, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    A little word about not supporting iOS devices like iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc. would have been helpful. Any word on when that might come about? Thanks.

    • Ingrid @
      February 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      We are exploring how we can make work on iOS devices, but it is not likely to be supported by browsers because of lack of WebRTC support in iOS. If you want to be notified when we have a solution ready for iOS, you can sign up here

      - Ingrid, Product manager @

  20. Guy M
    February 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Interesting. This might be the trick for talking with family living elsewhere. Plus, excellent Max Headroom reference.

    • Matthew H
      February 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      I don't even know why I made it. It's not like I grew up in the 80s, or anything.

  21. G Lud
    February 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    This is terrible.....Using latest Chrome
    1. No notification sound that someone is joining
    2. The audio was garbled and out of sync

    • Ingrid @
      February 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Sorry to hear that you experienced problems!
      1. There should be a notification sound played when someone new joins the room.
      2. There are still some issues with echo as not all of the browsers have fully implemented echo cancellation yet. At the moment, it works best if both participants are using Chrome. Also, the quality of the call is highly dependent of the network connection that the participants are on. Feel free to get in touch at for more troubleshooting!

  22. Nick
    February 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Any chance this garners Enterprise adoption?

  23. Trish
    February 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I'm going to check this out. Have you seen Very nice program.

    • Jim Evans
      February 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Yes, is great!

    • Matthew H
      February 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Not seen Will check it out!

    • Col. Panek
      January 20, 2015 at 2:30 am

      Except it doesn't work on Linux.

  24. Lois
    February 5, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Wondering if it archives the video on line. Would like to try this with student conferences, but don't want the video saved on the WW Web.

    • Ingrid @
      February 10, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Lois!

      None of the audio or video content is stored online at the moment, as the streams are sent directly between the computers in the conversation over a peer-to-peer connection.

  25. Ian H.
    February 5, 2014 at 2:01 am

    I guess my big question is: will it scale? Lots of things work fine before the entire world discovers them, but are the underlying technologies going to allow for thousands or hundreds of thousands of simultaneous users? Skype was supposed to be completely distributed, as I recall, but it all runs through MS's servers now, so I'm a little disconcerted to read that the also seems to need to run through an intermediary also.

    Do the technology and standards now exist to have truly distributed video conferencing, or will it always require server-side intermediaries?

    • Bjørn Remseth
      February 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      That's a really good question. I'm not working on myself but my colleagues down the hall are so I'm a bit familiar with the issues:

      For conferences with small number of people should scale brilliantly.'s server-based infrastructure only sets up the conversation, the actual traffic is handled by WebRTC. So setting up many many thousands of simultaneous conversations is doable using today's setup. That part scales very well indeed.

      WebRTC itself also scales quite well, within some limits: WebRTC is inherently peer to peer, and will try very hard to set up a proper peer to peer connection between the browsers. This is known as a "full mesh" interconnectivity. Once you have many parties in a conversation there will come a point where you are using too much bandwidth and connection quality starts to suffer. The present implementation puts a hard limit on the number of participants of a conversation to eight, but you may experience problems with fewer participants if bandwidth is scarce. Scaling to very large conversations does not at present work very well.

      One way to get around that would be to connect to a central server and let that mix the different video/audio streams together and send out only a single vide stream to every client. At the moment that's not the way it's done in, but it is technically feasible.

      Hope this addresses some of the things you were wondering about.

    • Matthew H
      February 10, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Wow! Fascinating stuff Bjorn.

      I'm really excited about WebRTC, and I'm quite glad you guys are road testing it in a serious communications application. The guys should open a developer blog? As a coder and a HTML5 junkie, I'd love to read it!

    • jc
      February 21, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      @Ian H
      The reason that Skype goes through MS servers is so Microsoft can analyze all communications through it.

  26. Del
    February 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    You overlook some useful features of the Google Plus Hangout, like the ability to record. Then there's the ability for those not in the hangout to view it in at other places like YouTube.
    If you just want to kickback and chat with a friend, fine, but many on Plus use it as a teaching tool. Hence, this is not a viable option for that.

    • Matthew H
      February 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      True. And let's not forget the many great Google Plus Hangouts plugins. However, as a basic communication tool, excels Google Plus.

  27. AM
    February 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Very nice, very cool. It's about time companies embraced the less-is-more philosophy and streamlined services to make them functionally efficient yet simple for even novices to use.

    • Matthew H
      February 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Agreed. That's one of the things I picked up on in my review. doesn't require any plugins, or any authentication. Just navigate and go. :)

      Cheers for your comment!