Following up on a precommitment I made in the study hall: I am looking into using the Google Hangouts API for a better study hall. This is also a precommitment to follow up by February 1st with:
It seems to me that while Google Hangouts might have been the obvious choice last year, WebRTC might actually work better now. See talky.io for a live demo. This page details how you can roll your own video chat with <20 lines of totally-front-end code. Since it all runs front-end, the cost to the server is no greater than a normal text-based chat client, as far as I can tell.
For a simple chat solution, there are lots of other libraries (I'm familiar with ShareJS for node, which makes this super easy). Honestly I think this would probably be simpler tha... (read more)