Chatroulette is a web chat service that connects you with millions of other people around the world, in real-time, from the comfort of your home computer. The premise is to meet and chat with new people on web-cam, and when you get bored you just click the ‘next’ button and you get introduced to a new person. The process goes on and on and on.
Chatroulette.com was started by a 17 year old Russian high school student and has gone from 500 active users to 1.5 million visitors daily in the last few months. I first heard about this service via my Twitter stream. It is getting some serious traction from the Social Interwebs, both good and bad reviews, but you cannot take away from the fact that it is unique as fuck and quite addicting.
Recently the founder of Chatroulette, Andrey Ternovskiy, has been offered big bucks for his site from both investors in the U.S. and his home country of Russia. For a 17 year old high school student to be stuck in the middle of this big decision whether to sell out or not and to which country, it must be hard and fun at the same time. Rumor has it that the Russian investor who is interested is no other then Billionaire owner of Digital Sky Technologies, Yuri Milner, who also recently invested heavily in Facebook. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently appointed Yuri Milner to a position on his commission to modernize the Russian economy, together with four cabinet ministers and Mikhail Prokhorov, who is Russia’s richest man.
Currently the site is run on a small server beneath his mothers kitchen table, with outsourcing done for additional bandwidth via Frankfurt, Germany.
It is said that Chatroulette founder Andrey Ternovskiy worships Kevin Mitnick, a legendary American hacker who is said to have hacked into the US Defense Department’s systems a hundred times.
When young minds innovate and it meets big corporate spending, the skies are generally the limit. Who knows, maybe this is the next Mark Zuckerberg and we will see the emergence of randomized video chatting globally. Only time will tell that. But for now know that Chatroulette is blowing up and becoming an overnight success story. You should follow this closely if you have any interest in Technology or Social Media, I know I will.
UPDATE: Apparently there are already spins on this concept from Chatroulette called Catroulette where cat owners use a web-cam for their pets to connect with each other. Weird but interesting. Kind of like the LOL Cats trend that never seems to go away.