SocialEyes – Video Chat with All Your Facebook Friends – Sort Of

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Perhaps you’ve already heard of the new online service, SocialEyes ( What you may have heard is that it’s like the Russian Chatroulette, only clean, and with your Facebook friends. Which isn’t really accurate, because Russia Chatroulette connects you serially with random people, while SocialEyes allows you and several of your friends (whom you know, they are not random people) to chat all at once with each other. However, it has severe limitations, and several quality issues. And nowhere do they tell you how to cancel SocialEyes (we tell you below).

SocialEyes describes itself as “a social video service that instantly connects you to your friends and to groups of people who share your interests.” What they fail to say up front, but what becomes clear immediately, is that it connects you (only) to your Facebook friends, and your Facebook groups.

In fact, SocialEyes really could be a service offering of Facebook, and it’s pretty clear that what SocialEyes really is is an effort to create a Facebook acquisition target, in hopes that Facebook will purchase them.

In fact, they rely entirely on the Facebook framework and model. The only way that you can use the SocialEyes service is by signing in through Facebook. The only friends you can invite to join you on SocialEyes are your Facebook friends. And the Facebook information that you have to share in order to sign up through Facebook with SocialEyes is pretty much all of your interesting Facebook information. In fact, in order to use SocialEyes you not only have to allow them to access your basic Facebook information (including your user ID and list of friends), but you also have to allow SocialEyes to “access your Facebook data any time”, including even when you aren’t using the application!


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If you don’t find the privacy issues a deterrent (really?), the next thing you will find, as soon as you log in to SocialEyes through Facebook, is that you need to give Flash access to your webcam. (Note: Apparently the site tells everybody that they need to upgrade Flash…it’s right on the homepage in big red letters.)


Note that in our tests we were only able to depress the button to allow access about half the time. The other half of the time the button was undepressable, acting as if there were no button there at all.

Next you will be given a fleeting glimpse of your own video window, with your image (assuming you got the Flash access for the camera to work):


…and then a pop-up will prompt you to record your ‘who am I?’ video:


Once you do that, or dismiss the pop-up, you can check to see which of your Facebook friends have enabled SocialEyes. You can, of course, invite your Facebook friends to join you on SocialEyes too, which is, of course, just what SocialEyes wants you to do. In fact, they are banking on it.


In addition to your Facebook friends, SocialEyes makes a note of the Facebook groups to which you belong, and offers the ability to video chat and text with the people in those groups (but again, and as with your Facenook friends, only if they too have joined SocialEyes).



The text chat function is fairly standard:


…but offers the interesting feature of being able to award your chat partner “karma points”.


You might think that the “Feeds” feature would be feeds of your chats, or news, or maybe even of your friends’ Facebook status updates. But you would be wrong. It is a list of recent activities performed by your SocialEyes friends. This is particularly ironic as the system does not otherwise alert you to your friends’ activities, so if your are not right in the SocialEyes browser window (such as if you have had the temerity to open another browser tab or window – say such as to check your email) you will have no idea that someone just responded to your message in SocialEyes.


UI design aside, SocialEyes just doesn’t deliver a great user experience (yet). There is a terrible lag time in chats (and we mean terrible) and certain basic features for a social video site are missing – such as the ability to invite friends who aren’t on Facebook, and the ability to record your video chats.

In fact, our friend Jim Kukral, the renowned web business coach, pronounced Social Eyes “useless” and “worthless” given the lag issues and the lack of recording ability.


SocialEyes is an interesting concept, but it feels half-baked and not yet ready for primetime. (To be fair, they do say that they are in beta, but that’s a term that has been rendered all but meaningless by Google and their infinite Gmail ‘beta’).

But where it may be half-baked, it’s whole-hog when it comes to privacy digging (not to pick on SocialEyes – we’d feel that way about any service that requires us to allow them to “access your Facebook data any time”, including even when you aren’t using the application!

If you enabled SocialEyes to check them out, and now wish to cancel their service, well you can’t. At least, not through SocialEyes themselves. Remember that what they really are is a Facebook app, so you have to remove them from your Facebook applications.

In fact, nowhere on the SocialEyes site does it tell you how to ‘cancel’, which we think is a pretty egregious oversight.

Here’s how to do that

How to Cancel and Remove SocialEyes for Facebook

Go to your Facebook privacy settings, and down at the bottom select the link for “Applications and websites”:


On that page you will see an entry for SocialEyes:


Click on the ‘X’:


And when the pop-up asks if you are sure, hit “Remove”:


If you did everything correctly, you will see this confirmation:


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