Leap into the vid-chat pond

CamFrog combines video, audio and text socializing with group chatrooms serving an international community and the deaf to create a true global network of communication.

If you're sick of hopping from one chatware program to another, looking for the perfect mix of video, audio and text socializing, CamFrog might be what you're looking for.

The chat rooms feature everything from music lessons to sign language to non-English chatting, and integrating video, audio, and text components are a great leap forward for chat communities since a Web cam is not a requirement. Be warned, though: There's also a slew of x-rated chat rooms; this is not a program that kids should use without supervision.

The interface should be familiar to anyone who has used any messaging software. You can create your own chat room and password-protect it, and the Contacts list has a section for favorite rooms and one-click contact adding, user searching, and profile management.

The interface could have been better designed, though. Chat rooms open in a new window, room participants get another, the user control panel gets a third one, and the video window makes four. A design that kept everything together but distinct would add far less clutter to your taskbar and screen.

Despite those drawbacks, if you're looking for a well-trafficked video chat program that serves a diverse community, CamFrog is cool place to land.

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