The transformation is now complete. Our favorite random video chat site Chatroulette has gone through a redesign over the past week and is now back up, in what founder Andrei Ternovskiy and those who believe in second chances hope will be a more nudity-free i.e. more monetizable version.
The “renewed and updated” Chatroulette is reportedly one of many recent efforts at shaking the Chatroulette penis stigma and hopefully improving the site’s advertising and investment prospects.
Chatroulette, a platform which allows you to video chat with strangers, has had many stumbling blocks on its way towards becoming a full fledged business including reportedly losing Shawn Fanning as an advisor as well as having a difficult time attracting investors weary of the site’s propensity for porn and other seamy shenanigans.
I’m trying out the sparser and more confusing interface right now and the first user I hit was masturbating. It’s also very difficult to tell how you can hit “Next” on the new Chatroulette — the next bar is apparently the unlabeled gray box directly below the video and above the text chat. Other accoutrements include bars for volume control, drop down menus for what video camera and microphone to use, and a resize option at the top right of the screen. The “Report” button is auspiciously missing.
At the moment the site is really flaky, but when the video chat does work it seems like the penis problem is far from gone both in my own initial experience and what I am hearing from other users. It actually looks like it has gotten worse (see screencaps below).
The fact that not much has changed in this latest redesign adds some credence to rumors that Chatroulette was not down voluntarily but in fact went offline in order to patch a security hole that allowed an IP sniffer released by Chatroulette HOF (link: NSFW) to mine data from Chatroulette users. I’ve contacted Ternovskiy for comment and have not yet received a response.
Screenshot of the first thing I encountered:
Screenshot of the first thing encountered by a TechCrunch reader:
Top image: UBC
Chatroulette! is a web site that allows users to connect to and video chat with random (site-chosen) users. It was developed by Andrey Ternovskiy of Moscow. The idea may have been influenced by Omegle, a similar service for text chat only. Chatroulette uses seven high-end servers all located in Frankfurt, Germany. Network throughput is 7 gigabits a second. The application uses Adobe Flash Player, and the RTMFP peer-to-peer technology acquired from Amicima and introduced in Flash Player 10.0. From now on...
Andrey Ternovskiy is a Russian teen and student who founded and built Chatroulette!, originally for him and his friends to meet new chat buddies. In a letter to the New York Times Bits Blog he introduced himself and his service: “I created this project for fun. Initially, I had no business goals with it. I created this project recently. I was and still am a teenager myself, that is why I had a certain feeling of what other...