Napster co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning launched a new video chat service called Airtime at a media event in New York today. The star-studded event included Jimmy Fallon, Snoop Dogg, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Carrey, some of which had to come to the rescue during technical difficulties with the demo.
The service can be likened to an evolved version of Chatroulette, where random people are linked together for one-on-one video chats. But instead of pairing totally random people, Airtime matches individuals based on common interests and seemingly does away with the anonymity of Chatroulette.
The service is launching today as a Facebook Web app, although a mobile version is also in the works. Once connected in a chat, the user is featured on the left side and their web partner is shown on the right. A list of common interests is shown in a green-shaded box and participants are able to share videos, files or just chat it up. Users can award each other “applause meter” points, which we assume is some type of reputation system.
The application has been in development for over a year and in many ways seems to be the perfect project for the duo. After all, Parker and Fanning met online in a chat room 15 years ago to share their common interest in computer security and hacking before developing Napster. Parker later went on to serve as Facebook’s first president and current serves on Spotify’s board.