SightSpeed's beta desktop videoconferencing software looks, feels and works (see screen shot) a lot like your everyday instant messaging tools and could be the thing that helps propel desktop conferencing to the next level. Currently available as a free beta, SightSpeed takes advantage of an existing Webcam and microphone\/headset combo. It works much like IM with a buddy list and centralized server providing the presence functionality. But once a point-to-point call is established, the server gets out of the way. This means conversations taking place between two people behind a firewall stay behind the firewall. The quality is pretty good and does not use a lot of bandwidth. It can scale down to as low as 64K bit\/sec and up to over a megabit if pipe is available. SightSpeed's technology came out of research done at Cornell University.The downside to the product is that its not based on standards (i.e. H.323 or SIP), so users can only connect with other SightSpeed users. Right now the product is free, but is moving to a commercial model in the very near future. Pricing details are not set yet. It's worth checking out though if you need a tool for quick and easy face-to-face communications.