My friend Grant recently pointed me to what I think is a very interesting and very under-promoted feature in SightSpeed - the ability to have someone call you on SightSpeed without having to install the SightSpeed software on their computer! Although I had seen this in the Account Information page, it hadn't really occurred to me what it was, and how useful it could be.
Basically what happens is that when you set up a SightSpeed account, there is a link established for you on the SightSpeed "people" server, such that when you are logged in to SightSpeed and anyone goes to that link with Internet Explorer, and allows the download of an ActiveX control, they will then be connected through to you as an incoming SightSpeed call, much the same as from any other SightSpeed user. The call will have most of the capabilities of a "normal" SightSpeed call, including bidirectional video, audio and text, and the quality is very good.
There are a few restrictions on how this works. The biggest is that it only works with Internet Explorer, I suppose because of the ActiveX control that it is based on. Of course, the person calling you needs to know the URL to go to. There are two obvious ways to do this; you can email the link to them, or you can include an icon and HTML code in a web page or blog which takes them to it (a sample icon and HTML code are included on your MySightSpeed page). In fact, SightSpeed creates two links for your account, one of which does not disclose your SightSpeed user name to the other person. Web users, as they are known in the SightSpeed documentation, don't have access to any SightSpeed status information, and the text messaging is only available after a connection is made, so the only way they have to find out if you are online is to try to call.
I find this capability very interesting, and potentially very useful - I can think of a number of situations where it would be quite handy. I wish that SightSpeed would make it more obvious, and promote it in their propaganda. Even after Grant told me about it, I honestly had a tough time finding anything on the SightSpeed web page - I finally found a decent description in the "How Do I ..." section of the FAQ.