In her much-discussed
profile of Chatroulette founder Andrey Ternovskiy,
whose innovative site randomly pairs strangers
via video chat,
the New Yorker's Julia Ioffe raises an interesting point
direction of the Internet's social element.
The technology behind
Chatroulette is fairly basic and not particularly new. But by combining
video-chatting technology and randomization Ternovskiy has bucked a
decade-long trend that has made the Internet feel progressively more
organized, pleasant, and safe. Google (founded in 1998) makes sure you
pull up less flotsam when you search. Social networks like Friendster
(2002), MySpace (2003), and Facebook (2004) let you stay in touch with a
network of people you already know. Privacy settings keep out the ones
you don't. Twitter (2006) feeds you information from sources you choose
to follow. Now Chatroulette has come along and showed us that we want
raises the question: is randomness is the next direction the Internet will take? If so, what would that look like?
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