You’ve probably had a webcam collecting dust on your desk for years. They come in handy once in awhile for business calls on Skype or iChat sessions with family. But did you ever think of your webcam as “controversial”? If not, then you obviously haven’t tried Chatroulette yet.
The premise of Chatroulette is simple. Turn on your webcam, go to Chatroulette.com (or chatrt.com if you have trouble spelling Roulette) and a video chat partner somewhere around the world is randomly chosen.
The Creeps Come Out to Troll
But for every innocent teenager looking to explore the world and make friends, there’s a Shirtless Bird-Face Donkey Man and of course, some guy masturbating (or both).
You’ve been warned. 1 out 10 Chatroulette connections will involve some sort of nudity. That’s the risk you take when launching Chatroulette. The site connects you randomly to an anonymous Chatrouletter every time you press the Next button.
And Chatroulette users aren’t required to register or authenticate their age. People like the “public masturbaters” take full advantage of the anonymity factor and unfortunately, the young audience too.
Chatroulette’s Simple Interface
The Chatroulette interface is pretty simple. There’s only 3 parts to the entire screen. The stranger’s video box is on the top, yours on the bottom and an optional text chat window is on the right. The combination of the 3 parts has made some great screenshots.
Celebrity Chatroulette Users
Don’t get the wrong idea. Chatroulette isn’t all flashers and sex crazed deviants waiting to get busted by Dateline NBC’s Chris Hansen. Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Perez Hilton and Paris Hilton has been spotted using the service. That alone probably has teenagers flocking to the site.
Also, for some reason Cats are very popular on Chatroulette. Someone’s already made a Tumblr blog called CATroulette aggregating all the cat screengrabs.
If you turn your head I win
Besides celebrities and the socially depraved, some creative people are coming up with clever and non-sexual ways to use the service like the YouTube video called “Turn Your Head.” Someone wrote “If you turn your head I win” on a piece of paper and laid it sideways. Each time the stranger turned their head, a point would get tallied on the piece of paper. Here’s the video if you want to check it out.
Who Created Chatroulette?
So who created Chatroulette? Skype? Google? Venture Capitalists? Nope. Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old high school student in Moscow. The New York Times tracked him down last month.
Ripping YouTube Videos
Want to save these YouTube videos onto your computer? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to rip video files off YouTube.com and convert them for any iTunes compatible device like an iPod, iPhone or Apple TV.