Fluentin3months keeps on growing!
As well as the increasing readership of the blog itself, more and more features are getting added to the site; as well as the very active forums, and extremely useful Learning With Texts interface, this week I have added a fantastic live chat feature!
Continuing the theme of all interactive features added to the site, this is completely free for all users.
All you have to do is log in (as you would for Learning With Texts or the forum; the same log in, or register here), and you will see a bar at the bottom of your screen whenever on the site. I demonstrate some of the coolest features in the video above, but here’s a quick summary:
- Browser and Operating System independent chat application; no need to install any software; it all works while you browse the web
- Chat (instant messenger) with anyone who is logged in and set themselves as available to chat. Set yourself to offline/invisible if you prefer not to chat right now.
- Video or audio call that person. HD camera quality supported. Works from within your browser!
- Share your screen, send a file, handwrite a message or draw an image with your mouse
- Transliteration tool; write in Chinese, Arabic, Greek, Russian and many other languages that don’t use the Latin script with an efficient transliteration algorithm. Automatically sent in chat window.
- Games! 25 two-player games include Pool, Connect 4, Backgammon, Battleships, Checkers, Chess, Sudoku and Tic Tac Toe. While playing, chat feature and audio call feature is included in the game window. Many other one player games also included.
- Group chats and live (automatic) translations: There is a room for many languages, or you can create one yourself and chat to people in that language live. If you need a hand in understanding it, activate the translation tool for a Bing translation to your native language given in parenthesis after the original. [There are a few bugs in this feature I'm still trying to fix, but ideally you would try to understand by yourself ]
- Facebook chat & Google chat integration! So you can stay in touch with everybody without having to use different windows or software. Your Facebook/Google details will remain private and separate to your account here.
Note: advertising is inserted while playing games. I’d recommend you install Adblock plus (or similar) for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer etc. to turn off these and other annoying cheesy banner ads on all websites.
Also note that some of the advanced features of this new system (not the basic chat) use Flash. Hopefully an update later will replace this with HTML5, but just keep in mind that you need to have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed.
The forum already has a conversation exchange section, with many people actively exchanging Skype details, but now all you have to do is coordinate a time and make sure both are on the website and logged then to chat! No need to swap contact details, just remember the user name! If there are many people online, just search for that person to see them come up.
My hope is that the fantastic discussions that go on in the forums will expand to the next dimension of live interactivity, and people can share their language learning stories and advice, as well as finding a native of their target language and to set up a “tandem” exchange to practice that language, while helping that person learn yours… for free of course!
Tip: If you are using the chat feature, install a dictionary for your target language in your browser and have your spelling mistakes corrected as you type!
And as I said in the video, I’m quite partial to a game of chess myself, so if you happen to see me online and I’m not about to head out the door to hike up the Inca trail, then I might be up for the challenge! And of course you’ll see plenty of other people online that you can interact with in group chat and invite to interact with you one-on-one, to see if they want to help you practice a language, or even just play a game with you.
Since a lot of my American readers are on holiday for Thanksgiving this weekend, I hope you’ll come join us! I’ll be in the group chat room at 6:00 EST both today (Friday), tomorrow Saturday, and Monday. Click here to see what time that is in a city near you.
Thoughts on this new feature? Let us know in the comments below!
Enter your email in the top right of the site to subscribe to the Language Hacking League e-mail list for way more tips sent directly to your inbox!
If you enjoyed this post, you will love my TEDx talk! You can get much better details of how I recommend learning a language if you watch it here.
This article was written by Benny Lewis
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