Sean Parker launches Chatroulette killer: For why?
Innovation... We've heard of it
NSFW Celebrity billionaire tech investor Sean Parker thinks video chat is what the world needs most, and is putting his money where his mouth is.
Now pinch yourself that it isn't 1995. Video chat is the innovation that nobody has ever wanted, but has never gone away.
The Facebook and Spotify investor, who was a driving force behind the original Napster P2P file-sharing program, has a new venture called Airtime. Airtime might not offer much that Chatroulette doesn't, but Parker believes he can stop the inevitable spiral into filth by building in "abuse prevention" filters.
Parker believes that today's social media is impersonal and removes the human element.
“You are just clicking and never really engaging in a deep way with anyone. There is a lot lost, and the result is this sense of dehumanisation," said Parker, via the FT
But then you could argue the same about the telephone – and many did.
Video chat has been touted as the next upgrade for telephony since the 1960s – and since the modern world upgraded to fibre in the'80s, the capacity has been there to deliver it. As late as the early 1990s, major telcos featured video terminals in "coming next" vision-thing brochures. A few years later it was cited as the major consumer application for UMTS, or 3G. But today, even with free telephony and ubiquitous webcams, video chat hasn't broken out of its niche market of murky exhibitionists.
(An example of this filth can be seen below: NSFW)
Why does Parker think it's going to be different this time? And if we had a more sober and realistic idea of "innovation" really is, would a new video chat service even merit a paragraph in the Pink'Un? ®
>>> People use video-chat on Phones/FaceTime all the time in the commercials.
There, fixed that for you.
"Parker believes he can stop the inevitable spiral into filth by building in "abuse prevention" filters."
The man who backed a P2P network honestly believes he can stop exactly what people will use his service for, Porn and Trolling.
Oh yeah, has he head of this neat application called Skype?
When / where?
I have never once had anyone try to video call me on my phone and have never seen anyone using that feature either. Even 99% of the Skype use I've seen / participated in has just been using it for a cheap audio only conference call.
My entire family use Skype to stay in touch, especially to see my bouncing baby nephew throw stuff around my sister's pristine front room.
Then at work all our meeting rooms have video conferencing facilities and multiple 42" LCDs to view from, which we use to have multi-continent meetings - China, Singapore and Aus in the mornings, US in the afternoons.
All our laptops have webcams built in and we use that when we can't get a meeting room.
It's not exactly chat roulette, but video is hugely important to both my personal and professional life.
Pushed by the channels, not wanted by many other than web 2.0 sales pushers.
The few that I know who went down the line with video calling/conferencing quickly gave up as the dream that was sold was nowhere the hard reality. From codecs where video is the driver resulting in choppy audio (choppy video is passable, choppy audio isn't) to the rampant lies about required upload bandwidth which when combined with the upload bandwidth lies given by ISPs results in nowhere enough bandwidth, it's often off to a very bad start. That's before the environmental issues of audio, lighting and visual presentation come in - you do have a dedicated room for video conferencing don't you? Video conferencing can work, and when it does it can work well but it takes a lot more effort than most solution pushers will ever admit.
Of course, that's the commercial video conferencing side - while personal video conferencing shares the same bandwidth and performance issues and is frequently made useless by environmental factors (for example users with windows behind them), many users just prefer not to be visible due to the additional stress of trying to look good on camera. This said, it's fantastic for widely separated families to keep in touch, even if they don't often use the video option it's there as an option so they can see each other.
As for using it on mobiles... forget anything other than wifi otherwise there's never anywhere near enough bandwidth to upload the video stream.