The new Web sensation, ChartRoulette, developped by Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old Moscow student, is already spawning clones. Shuffle People has been running for a little while but it seems buggy. I have used it to talk to a guy in the UK with a measured 4 seconds of delay in voice. Even with people in Ottawa (a few hours away from Montreal) I experience at least two seconds delay. It’s hard to conduct a conversation. But for the most part, that is not how people are using ChatRoulette.
If you are like me and don’t necessarily want to turn on your cam and gawk at stranger (who could be flashing their privates) then there are many great and funny videos about ChatRoulette on Youtube. This beautiful one by Casey Neistat says it all.
Neistat made a sampling of 90 rolls to come up with the following stats.
I am no stranger to this kind of system having spent so much time on the crossed wires, free local Bell Canada telephone lines that were crossed (purposefully or not) from the early 1980s. These spawned subsequent paying party lines. I have to admit that it was annoyingly low bandwidth allowing only a few people at a time so if you were stuck with a bore you had to convince them to hang up so the next person would call in. I was barely thirteen when I met a 19 year old guy on such lines and we dated for about 6 months. I can totally understand the interest for young people to use ChatRoulette from their bedroom to pass the time with strangers.
In a sense, it is a bit like NetMeeting used to be in the early stages but now, everybody and their pervy uncle is on the Web and cameras are built into most every new laptop so the landscape of users has changed considerably.
This is not a fad and entrepreneurs are moving it to create clones with monetization schemes built in such as advertizing.
How can the ChatRoulette system be improved? Would you like to see channels added to the mix so that the roulette is more likely to hit a like-minded person? Or would that simply defeat the purpose or the surprise factor?
Related article: Hello, stranger: the ups and downs of Chatroulette (AP)