Ever since the meteoric rise (and subsequent downturn) of Chatroulette, there’s been a major influx of startups and mashups looking to capitalize on the thrill of being flung into a conversation with a random person you’ve never met. We’ve seen group chats with strangers, text-only chats with strangers, and, of course, a Chatroulette clone “for stoners”. So it comes as little surprise that tonight, a matter of hours after Apple’s FaceTime was released for the Mac, we’ve come across a little service called Facelette. It’s exactly what you think it is.
The application is extremely basic (in fact, on a Hacker News thread announcing the product, Zach Holman says he whipped it up in around an hour — he also calls it the “dumbest experiment ever”). Visit the site, and you’ll be prompted to enter the email address or phone number associated with your Apple account. Be warned: This data isn’t hidden at all, so if you want to check out Facelette you’ll probably want to associate a throwaway email address with your Apple account, otherwise you may have to face a bunch of spam. Hopefully if the site gets any serious traction the developer will figure out a way to obfuscate this, or at least make it harder for spammers to scrape.
Once you’ve entered your Email/phone number, the site will randomly display a link to someone else’s account info — click it, and you’ll be thrown into a FaceTime call with them. The contact information you entered will be shown to other users as well, so don’t be surprised if you get an inbound call.
From then on, you’re on your own. I chatted with two people — one who would only show his fingers and another who was quite friendly (and I think may have introduced me to his parents). And no, there doesn’t appear to be a penis problem yet. And while this probably isn’t going to spawn a blockbuster business, it’s a great chance to see what FaceTime is like if you’re itching to try it out.
Just to reiterate, here’s the privacy notice (or warning) on the site:
Privacy tl;dr: you’re submitting your stuff publicly, so watch out. But Facelette will absolutely protect your info otherwise.