Jybe is a plugin for Firefox and IE that lets you co-browse. Whatever anybody brings up in their browser, all the others in the same Jybe session see. There’s also a mini chat room at the bottom so everyone can talk while browsing. Michael has screenshots.
Like IM, it does seem to do be well suited for a virtual reference environment. However, it isn’t perfect. While Michael could drag us all with him into EBSCO search results, Jybe doesn’t seem to pull everybody into every kind of restricted access site. Going to my admin page where I make new posts for example, everyone else merely saw a login screen. There is also no reflection of when one person scrolls up or down a site, though Jybe’s web site says that’s in the works. Jybe also seems to only work in one tab in Firefox, multiple tabs aren’t supported.
With a little more development, I think Jybe could make a wonderful virtual reference tool. What if voice communication could be added? Or the ability to lock others out from changing the page? That would enable a nice method of doing a distributed presentation, especially with the hypothetical voice chat added.
Gotta run now, but more thoughts later maybe. If anyone else wants to play around with Jybe, let me know!