The Venice Project

I got an invite to the much-talked-about Venice Project a few weeks ago, and managed to take it for a spin a few times. GigaOm among others like Engadget and BusinessWeek have also mentioned it. A few noteworthy things:

  • It’s running on Mozilla’s XULRunner! Confirmed by Allan Beaufour.
  • Video quality is extremely good, and buffering time is minimal even when getting only about 4Mbps broadband (during busy holiday times as I typically do 6-8Mbps). This means we should expect Linux/Mac versions to follow.
  • Content is extremely sparse. This is really the Achilles’ heel of the venture. Without content it’s worthless, despite being technologically cool.
  • It doesn’t quit when you close the app by default. It minimizes so it can still share data. This isn’t a very cool thing if you care about bandwidth consumption (you may, or you may not). I understand why they do this though.
  • UI is very fluent and almost TiVo-ish, though not always as intuitive as one would like. It is still a beta, so I’d expect things to improve. One thing I did email about was getting tooltips to show up sooner, which would help remedy this.
  • Doesn’t seem to pierce through firewalls as easy as Skype does (though still does a pretty good job). Not sure if this is on the todo list, of if it’s something that can’t be fixed. Perhaps Skype just set a really high standard.

I don’t want to go into a very serious review because it’s still in development, and it doesn’t seem I can include screenshots other than those released just yet. I plan to revisit this with a more thorough review at a later date. Perhaps when it’s permissible to include screenshots, or when a beta picks up a feature warranting a little more info. As someone who loves seeing new innovative software, and businesses, this has been a real treat to check out. As someone who appreciates the tech behind the scenes (go XULRunner!) it’s really a treat.

Edit: Now known as Joost.