We first reviewed TinyChat when it was just a text chat with Twitter integration. Since then, though, TinyChat has morphed into a full-blown online video conferencing system with features like screen sharing, video recording, and Facebook integration. These days, as more and more video services offer integration with Twitter, TinyChat has been under some pressure to stay ahead of the competition like camtweet and Twitcam. In response to the increased competition, TinyChat just released a new and improved version of its service. This new version offers a number of interesting new features, including a push to talk mode and more options to manage a room for room starters. In addition, the video resolution and frame rate have also been doubled in the free version.

Push to Talk and Room Control

One of the niftiest features in the new TinyChat is the implementation of a push to talk button. A typical video and audio chat with multiple users can often be ruined by echo from a user who doesn't use headphones. TinyChat now asks users if they have headphones when they sign in - if they don't, the application will automatically put them into the push to talk mode.

Room owners (that is, whoever starts a room) now also have greater control over who can be on cam. In addition, room owners can now also pass control of a room on to other users - a feature that is quite useful when you have to leave, but want the chat to continue.

Room starters can now also require users to sign in through Twitter. Whenever a user signs in through Twitter, an invitation to join the chat will be posted in that user's Twitter stream. In addition, room starters can now also force users to push all of their chat comments back to Twitter. This might be a somewhat controversial feature, as some may see this as spam.

Coming Soon: WordPress Plugin, New Video Screen, Custom Hashtags

In the next few days, the TinyChat team also plans to release a new WordPress plugin, a restyled video screen, and custom hashtags for rooms (right now, every tweet about a TinyChat room features the #tinychat hashtag).

TinyChat's founder Dan Blake tells us that the service is currently growing about 5% every day. Given that the service has been completely self-funded and is only relying on word-of-mouth marketing (largely through Twitter), this is quite an impressive feat.