Could you imagine trying to pitch Chatroulette integration in Facebook to Mark Zuckerberg? It wouldn't fly, not when the billionaire 28-year-old is trying to open up access to his social playground for kids under the age of 13. But a clean version of Chatroulette? That's Airtime, a new live social video network put together by Napster founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning.
Unveiled at a special launch event in New York City with Jimmy Fallon, Jim Carrey, Ed Helms, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn, and Snoop Dogg providing the requisite star power, Airtime is a browser-based video chat service friends can use via their Facebook networks. Users are able to share live experiences and collaborate on project, and is purportedly "fun and safe."
"There’s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the Internet," said Parker. "All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know. That wasn’t always the case. If it weren’t for the internet, Fanning and I would have never become friends. As we move from a social graph to an interest graph, there are great possibilities for our world. That’s what we’re trying to tap into with Airtime."
Added Fanning, "We look at Airtime as if it were a smart and engaging host. "Airtime is a service that does everything it can to help you find the people that you should know, and then guide your conversations further. These are connections that wouldn’t be possible in the real world. If you look at this from an idealistic standpoint, Airtime is something only technology can facilitate. And it is finally possible with the ubiquity of webcams, broadband connections and a highly developed identity layer. We’ve only scratched the surface with what the Internet can do today."
In addition to chatting with your friends, Airtime will pair you up with people who live nearby, have similar interests, and with friends of friends. But unlike Chatroulette, Airtime plugs into your Facebook chat network and knows your identity, and while it can't stop unwanted nude encounters, it can drop the ban hammer in a hurry.
Intrigued? If so, you can give it a test drive here.