I can’t recall when or how I first stumbled across 3bubbles.com, but it must have been over three weeks ago when the software was just about to start beta releases. I was lucky enough to sign up for an account early on, putting myself on the top of the beta list and giving me a chance to test drive some very cool software on my blog. They have been slowly adding members to their exclusive beta and are doing their best to keep scaling their servers to fit the fast expansion. So before I go into too many details about 3bubbles, lets take a look at what it is.
As you can see 3bubbles is no more than your average chatroom, much like an IRC room. The difference is that IRC is for the web trendy, 3bubbles is designed to fit the casual browser. The simplicity of the software makes it easy enough for anyone with an internet connection to participate in conversations on your own web page. The current release requires that you popup a new window to chat, but I believe they are planning on allowing users to insert the chatroom into pages in the near future.
When open a 3bubbles chatroom page you are presented with your web page title (topic of conversation), the current roster for the room on the right side, the dialogue on the left, and the nickname/login area on the bottom. This is exactly how every other chatroom software has always been designed so no confusion here. The nickname area will let you login with any nick that you want, as long as it hasn’t been registered yet at 3bubbles.com. It would be a good idea to register your nick now with 3bubbles by the way. Once you have logged in with either your registered nick or a temporary one you are then announced in the channel as joining the chat. From there on 3bubbles acts just like every other chatroom you have ever been on.
How does 3bubbles differ from every other chatroom? For one thing, the 3bubbles chats all share a single user database handled by 3bubbles.com. This functions sort of like a chat-gravatar, a chatting account that can be used on any site using the 3bubbles chatrooms. This means that once you’re registered and logged into a 3bubbles account, you will automagically keep logged in to that same account when you switch chatrooms between different sites. At the moment this may not seem so exciting, but I imagine in the future they will start evolving user profiles by adding more fields to make things more interesting. Another great feature is that 3bubbles creates a seperate chatroom for every page it’s featured on. This means that the article you are reading now has a seperate chatroom from any other article on the Pligg blog. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good if you’re a high-traffic site with lots of opinionated people. Bad if you are a small amateur blogger who has only a handful of hits every day. Sites that don’t get much traffic are going to really dislike this software in it’s current state. A third thing that makes 3bubbles great is that they offer a simple way to add a small bit of social networking to your site/blog. By giving users the ability to talk to each other in real time you are adding a new element to your site that can really make the feel involved, and that keeps them coming back.