PowWow is an integrated client/server package that delivers dynamic text and voice-based communication capabilities. The Internet Community Server included with the PowWow client allows Web sites to set up their own interactive PowWow communities. The server provides text and voice chat capabilities, instant messaging, moderation options, buddy lists, file transfers, online board games, and other communications features to visiting PowWow users. An attractive and intuitive graphical interface makes it easy to get up and running when hosting your first PowWow virtual community. If you’re going to be serving a continuous community (24 hours a day), you can list the community on PowWow’s Online Community Guide to help generate an influx of visitors.
While the PowWow client remains freeware, hosting a community using the latest release of the Community Server does require a nominal fee. A license for up to ten simultaneous users can be purchased for $49.95 per year; additional licenses supporting up to thousands of simultaneous users are also available. The most recent release of PowWow adds remote administration and moderation features to the server, as well as a number of community controls (membership criteria, etiquette enforcement, etc.). The latest release also allows for three types of community discussions to be created: moderated, auto-moderated, and unmoderated.
The Internet Community Server included with the PowWow client allows Web sites to set up their own interactive PowWow communities.
PowWow is an attractive chat solution for users as well as for hosts. The client is a dramatic improvement over apps like WinTalk and Sticky Notes which force you to know the IP address of the person you want to communicate with. As with VocalTec’s Internet Phone, even users with dynamic IP addresses can send and receive calls. If the standard text/voice-based conversation gets a bit old after a while and adventure beckons, users can try out PowWow’s cruise control feature. By launching a cruise, one user assumes leadership over up to eight followers. Each user’s favorite browser (Netscape, Internet Explorer, Emissary, and Softerm are all supported by PowWow) launches on their machine and the leader then calls the shots by taking the others on a tour of Web sites — making for innovative and extremely effective product presentations, sales pitches, step-by-step instruction guides, or similar applications.
New features in the most recent releases of PowWow (v3.2 and later) add to an already stacked communications feature-set. Users and hosts alike will be able to take advantage of new features like a 1,000-user conference/community mode (with a message area, instant messaging, buddy list, and more), a whiteboard for collaborative drawing, Insta-voice messaging capabilities, file transfer capabilities, a speech synthesizer for converting text to speech, and half or full-duplex voice-chatting capabilities. PowWow also features a plug-in API that allows the client to accept third-party plug-ins or the server to offer plug-ins to users. The current version of PowWow includes a boardgames plug-in with cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, dice, backgammon, and additional games.
For all of your text and voice-based chatting needs, as well as your cruise control cravings, PowWow is the client of choice. And for serving your own virtual communities with real-time text and voice-based communications capabilities, PowWow is the server of choice as well.
Pros: Chat without the need to know IP addresses, serve virtual text/voice-based communities
Cons: Lacks video capabilities and advanced voice capabilities of clients like Internet Phone