Velvet Puffin
Recently I came across a PodTech show on the Scobleizer. Robert was interviewing Chandra CEO of Velvet Puffin, who was demonstrating their offering in a buys SFO restaurant.

So I decided to test drive it myself. At first it seemed like any other web based IM solution (kinda like Meebo). Once I registered, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that Velvet Puffin launched the IM application and installed it seamlessly on my desktop as well. Apart from registration form I had to do absolutely nothing to install the application. People, this is as seamless as it can get. Yes, not even AIR or Silverlight mumbo jumbo. I am truly impressed with this approach and want to try out at work where the network typically blocks other IM applications at the network level.

Enough about desktop support. What came next was even better. VP does offer integrated IM functions (MSN, Gtalk, Yahoo, MySpace, AIM etc) and multiple accounts like most other popular applications (Adium, Pidgin, Trillian etc). However its their smart integration of social networking/media features is what makes this very special.

Velvet Puffin Desktop

Along with the IM buddy list, VP integrated media and blogging very well. Users can upload their photos and videos using the application. Not to mention that the photo and video organization experience is as good as I have seen. User’s can also post blogs within the application and conduct polls. Friends who use this application can look at your media, blog posting and polls within the buddy list. The integration is pretty slick and smart.

Instead of signing up on Facebook and Myspace to make friends, VP allows you to interact socially with your existing buddies within IM. This is very efficient and simple.

One is reminded of Apple when it comes to the user experience of this application. Especially when you can access properties and comments by simply flipping around the photo or the blog post. Check out the video with the demo.

VP also has mobile applications which run on most Java enabled handsets and offers similar functions as the desktop. The application also provides search capabilities for video and photos to share with your buddies.On the downside the application is still beta and can slow down things on your computer. I am sure they will fix it soon.
I am definitely impressed with this and will try it out for few weeks. I haven’t seen them integrating any advertisements yet. It will be interesting to see how they monetize this.