Chatroulette is a website that pairs random strangers for webcam-based conversations. Visitors to the website randomly begin an online chat (video, audio and text) with another visitor. At any point, either user may leave the current chat by initiating another random connection.
The Chatroulette web site was created by Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old high school student in Moscow. Ternovskiy says the concept arose from video chats he used to have with friends on Skype, and that he wrote the first version of Chatroulette in "two days and two nights". Ternovskiy chose the name "Chatroulette" after watching The Deer Hunter, a 1978 film set in the Vietnam War in which prisoners of war are forced to play Russian roulette.
In early November 2009, shortly after the site launched, it had 500 visitors per day. One month later there were 50,000. In February 2010, the site was featured on Good Morning America, on Newsnight in the United Kingdom, in The New York Times, in New York magazine, and on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In that month, there were about 35,000 people on Chatroulette at any given time. Around the beginning of March, Ternovskiy estimated the site to have around 1.5 million users, approximately 33% of them from the United States and 5% from Germany.
The website uses Adobe Flash to display video and access the user's webcam. Flash's peer-to-peer network capabilities (via RTMFP) allow almost all video and audio streams to travel directly between user computers, without using server bandwidth.
An early growth phase was funded by a $10,000 investment from his parents which he soon paid back. As of March 2010, Ternovskiy runs the site from his childhood bedroom, assisted by four programmers who are working remotely and the site is supported through advertising links to an online dating service. Score: 10 -- Flawless Victory (Better game than Final Fantasy XIII.)
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