New Chatroulette Version Imminent
Chatroulette, the notorious Web site that paired random users together for online video chats, has been temporarily closed in preparation for a new version scheduled to launch later today.
While vilified by the press and parent online safety groups for exposing youngsters to sexually explicit activities, the site quickly ramped up to 1.34 million visitors per month following its launch last November, according to Compete.com.
Visitors today are greeted with a message that says, "The experiment #1 is over now. Thanks for participating. Renewed and updated version of the website will be launched today."
Big changes are anticipated in Chatroulette's new version, due to a collaboration with Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and the first president of Facebook . The service might work better if it automatically forwarded users to people who had not been voted thumbs down by previous users, Parker told attendees at a technology conference in California earlier this month. He also said a move from a one-to-one video chat application to a one-to-many platform would improve the site.
Inappropriate material aside, Chatroulette won the Breakout of the Year Award at the 2010 Webby Awards. Its recent updates have included a local chat option and a selection of channels to help connect people with similar interests. Chatroulette also implemented an automatic "time-out" feature that blocked users who had received three complaints during their sessions for up to 40 minutes. A Chatroulette app for the iPhone made a brief appearance on iTunes, but was quickly removed by Apple in response to complaints about nudity from users.
Chatroulette visitors dropped 52 percent over the past three months, according to internet traffic analysis site Alexa. But the last 24 hours have shown a slight increase, which may reflect anticipation for the new Chatroulette.