Thursday, January 21, 2021

My In-Browser, Serendipity Hangout & Spatial Video Side Project: PLUTO!

I am excited to share Pluto, a side project I have been working on with my friends at Fluxon and Katsuya Noguchi. You can check it out here at Pluto.video.



I got sick of all the Zoom happy hours, birthday parties, and company get-togethers. In parallel, fun random chance meetups largely died - you could no longer run into a friend or co-worker or interesting new person given social distancing[1].

Pluto is an online in-browser spatial video for meetups, serendipity, and video chat:

  • A browser-only video space (no headsets needed) you can move around using first-person shooter-like controls. 
  • Spatial video chat - Sound decays with distance so different groups can break up and hang out. This allows for hanging out with large groups in a way that feels like the offline world.
  • Just drop in a link and you can attend an event over video (no headset, no nothing). 
  • Everything is represented in 3D, which means people can randomly run into each other and serendipity can finally happen again. 
  • You can chat, watch videos, screen shares and explore virtual spaces.

Pluto is fun to explore on your own, but is actually even better with friends. 

We have held happy hours with 50-60 people at a time and it works magically - you can run into people, walk over to a group, and in general interact in group or side conversations in a seamless and organic way. It is the closest thing to a real world event, but online.

Pluto has many worlds to explore

We have built out a number of worlds you can explore in Pluto including:

Here is a picture of Elon Musk hanging out at Burning Man on Pluto. He has not been on Pluto as far as we know, but mocks allow us to pretend. Come check out Burning man and the video screens with DJs!
  • The Maldives. Relax. Enjoy the ocean. Finally a break from your basement zoom call!

There are some easter eggs hidden in this library - can you find them?


Come check it out and let us all know what you think! We will be hanging out at an instance at team.pluto.video from 11am to 2pm PT. Come and say hi!

You can also grab your own version at pluto.video. You can explore it alone, but is actually more fun with friends. Try inviting 5 to 50 people and see how it goes!

Please let me know what you think, comment on Hacker News, or ping me on twitter.

It is still early days, but thought it would be fun to get it out there and get some feedback :)

NOTES

[1] The rise of webRTC and webGL has enabled a new, real time, in-browser social layer to emerge. No one has really used this fully yet, although apps like Figma obviously are webGL heavy for collaboration while social products and experiments like Clubhouse, Gatherly, Rally, Rambly, Sonar, Teamflow, Yorb are doing interesting things (and helped inspire Pluto). So, we put together Pluto - built on webRTC/MediaSoup, and THREE.js.