Working on a similar principle to the ICQ (‘I seek you’) Internet chat program, Gooey is a small utility that allows visitors to Web sites to chat to each other, either by text or, with the appropriate tools, via video-conferencing.
The user interface is pretty simple. Whenever you visit a Web site, a little pop-up box will tell you the nick-names of other Gooey users currently at that site. You can then click on their names and chat with them, either on their own or as part of a group. Alternatively, the Gooey applet can be incorporated into a taskbar beneath your browser.
Since there are more than a few Web sites around, and not that many Gooey users, you could be shouting in the dark for some time. Fortunately, there’s another way to track people down; you can select from a list of the top 100 sites for Gooey visitors, and increase your chances of finding a like-minded individual to talk to. Alternatively you can use the system’s search facilities to track down a particular person.
Gooey goes further than that, though. If you have a Webcam and Microsoft’s Netmeeting installed on your PC, you can also talk to other users via video-conferencing. Off-line communication is also supported, with users being contacted as soon as they come back online, and you can add users to an AOL-like ‘buddy list’ of your friends (they have to accept you first).
Additional features of the service include news and RealPlayer video feeds for those who want them, and the whole thing is a free download, the current version being just over 1MB in its compressed, downloadable form.