Airtime is a new startup by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning (of Napster fame) that recycles an old idea: Chatroulette. Yep, that random video-chatting service invented by some Russian teenager has seemingly been redressed in tailored suits and landscaped beards. It’s Chatroulette buttoned-up, which means less fun but potentially more useful.
Airtime is a new Facebook app/one-on-one video-chatting service that hopes to avoid the problems Chatroulette had by directly tying the service to your Facebook account. By not allowing anonymous accounts, the idea is to not allow anonymous private parts and use visual recognition software as a deterrent.
Another advantage of tying the two together is that Airtime will link people with common interests so you can talk with people who are like you and meet people who you would love meeting. Don’t worry, you can still go the completely random, quickfire Next route, but with your Facebook photo, information and common interests displayed as you chat, you’ll be accountable for your video chats.
It’s not unlike online speed dating, actually. In fact, Airtime has created algorithms to match up different users who fit better together (depending on the length of their typical conversations, among other things) so they can make better converstions. But even if Airtime is Chatroulette grown up, polished and made better, can Airtime recreate the random fun that Chatroulette lost years ago? [Airtime]