Rounds video-chat service expects millions of users from mobile

Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:06am EST
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By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Rounds, a free video-chat service that is also a social network, expects to add tens of millions of users with the launch of its mobile phone application.

Israel-based Rounds operates on top of existing platforms with the goal of bringing friends together irrespective of their preferred operating system or device.

Besides video-chat there are photo-sharing features and the ability to watch YouTube videos, play games or listen to music with those contacts, who see exactly what the other sees.

"We are the first hangout network, offering online entertainment with video communication to bring people closer together," Rounds co-founder and Chief Executive Danny Fishel told Reuters.

Rounds has over 6 million users who spend an average of 40 minutes a day "hanging out", mainly via the Facebook app.

Last month Rounds launched its first application for Google Android-based phones and Apple iPhones. It expects mobile to bring the number of users to tens of millions, reaching more than 80,000 new users in the first 48 hours.

"From our perspective, I can be on an Android device and you on Facebook, we merge the contact lists together," Fishel said.

Rounds also gives these "hangouts" an afterlife, allowing users to take pictures of themselves and fuse the images so it appears as if they are physically together. Users can follow, share, like and comment on the photos.   Continued...