Napster founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker have launched Airtime, a face-to-face video calling web application that tries to hook up strangers with shared interests.
To use the service, you will need to have a Facebook account – you will use Facebook for logging in and Airtime will crawl through various friends list to find the best matches for video-sharing. There is no download requirement for new Airtime users, as they only need access to Facebook Connect, but logging in to Airtime.com is still requisite.
With its anonymous person-to-person video chatting feature, Airtime bears a striking resemblance to Chat roulette, without the latter’s infamous direction toward exhibitionism. This Airtime wholesomeness is guaranteed, in huge part, by its link with Facebook and other Facebook features. Despite remaining anonymous to other users and chat partners, Airtime is able to detect which users are already venturing beyond appropriate behavioral parameters. The site also reserves the right to kick out a user or suspend an account anytime.
The app has a streamlined interface, where you can find a list of your friends on its right side and two video windows in the middle of the page. Airtime also works for chatting with friends, as it does for complete strangers. With its Facebook integration furthermore, Airtime alerts will find their way through your friends’ instant message boxes, with a single click bringing them to Airtime instantaneously.
Facebook also says that it’s possible for users to turn to Airtime to help them search for a chat partner, given their matching interests and list of mutual friends. To ensure the success of a possible match, Airtime will use trackers to help them bring the right people together, like looking into conversation length and other indicators.
Co-founders Fanning and Parker have been at work on Airtime for the last two years, and the so-called “social discovery” application has already pooled $35 million from investor funding.