Chatroulette, a website that connects random strangers via video chat, has been receiving a lot of buzz. And we’ve seen it can be quite entertaining. Web-based chat startup TinyChat is launching their own version of Chatroulette, called TinyChat Next.
Similar to Chatroulette, you can be thrown into a room with strangers and conduct video chats with random people. When you tire of a person, you can simple move onto the next available user in TinyChat’s “Lobby”. It’s a fairly simple interface and idea, as we’ve seen with Chatroulette.
One differing factor is that TinyChat is trying to white label the technology by offering “rooms.” So for example, TechCrunch could create a room for entrepreneurs to chat about technology and meet random people who share the same interests. The idea is that if you can break down the chat topic by subject matter, the greater the chance of having a more compelling conversation with an absolute stranger. Similar to creating a a group chat on TinyChat, a room organizer would post a link to the room. People who join will randomly chat with other people in the room and can choose to skip to another stranger. PopJam also released a Chatroulette-like platform, except that is uses Facebook Connect to randomly send you into a Facebook IM chat with a total stranger.
At the moment, TinyChat Next is free to all users, even if you create designated, branded rooms. It seems like Chatroulette is a bit of a novelty that could wear off, but I think the idea of creating rooms according to subject or interest is compelling. It should be interesting to see if TinyChat can actually recruit users to test out and experiment with the service.
TinyChat, which recently upgraded its features, has been growing like gangbusters and recently won a Crunchie for best bootstrapped startup. TinyChat started out as a simple IRC-style chatroom app to complement conversations on platforms like Twitter, has been steadily building out its innovative platform to include video chat and screensharing options, live video streaming, and Facebook Connect.