Even though the Internet has existed for some ten years now (in it’s present form) and has a fair amount of order and regulation, it is still somewhat of a wild frontier. As vast as the Internet is and the wide array of things that can be found on there, there is still room for new ideas and new trends. Just when you think that you have seen it all, another unique idea comes to the surface. Web ideas although often very simple, can often take the Internet world by storm. This is definitely true with the web site that I am exploring this month. The idea for this web site is fun, it’s unique and it’s curious”¦ and it is called Chatroulette.
The Chatroulette web site is fairly new and can only be described as social networking with a new twist or “spin” (pun intended). Chatroulette.com is a video chat web site where users enter the web site to chat with others. People visit the web site from all over the world and are randomly paired in a video chat with another user. This probably all sounds simple enough, until you add people. The users of this web site have given the web site its own momentum and have taken it in a direction that the developer probably never imagined.
Once you enter into a chat with someone on Chatroulette, you can talk freely. However no information is given to you about the other person. Therefore the things you learn about them will only come from the conversation you manage to have. What makes things interesting is that the conversation can be terminated at any time by either of the users. Users simply click the “next” button to be moved on to a new conversation with a completely different random user. A conversation can end for any number of reasons. In many ways, this feature alone puts the pressure on to keep things interesting.
Surprisingly, Chatroulette was developed by a seventeen year old boy from Russia. He came up with the idea and he actually programmed the web site himself. The web site is developed in a very simple way and it is also run very simply. Although there are warnings on the web site about keeping things decent, no rules are actually enforced. This means that many inappropriate things take place on the site. Users have complained that on average one in every ten chats contain content that is not appropriate for children. Therefore it is definitely not a web site for children to play around on.
As for the future of Chatroulette, it is currently very low on features. However the owner is said to have received proposals from investors that want to plump it up and expand on the idea it is also spawning the resurgence of web video conferencing. Watch this space.