Online chat rooms are great for when you want to have a phone-free conference with friends, family members, co-workers, etc. Just one problem: Most chat options require some kind of software (AIM, Yahoo Messenger, etc.). That's a hassle when all you need is a temporary, one-time room.
Enter Tinychat, the Web's answer to pay-by-the-hour hotel rooms. You pop in, do your thing, then hit the road. Except here you don't even have to register at the front desk, and there's no payment involved: the service is free.
Using Tinychat couldn't be simplier. Just click Create your room to generate a URL you can send to others, or click one of the social-network icons (Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter) to invite people in your personal network(s).
Tinychat works entirely inside your browser, so there's nothing for you or your invitees to install. Nor does the service require any kind of sign-up or registration--not even an e-mail address.
That makes all the more amazing the breadth of features available here, including screen sharing, video broadcasting, and the option to save your chat as a Word document.
Signing up for Tinychat Pro ($14.95 monthly) nets you even more features, like five "permanent" chat rooms, higher-quality video, and so on.
But I think most users will be perfectly satisfied with the free version, which deftly caters to anyone needing a quick, easy, disposable chat room.