Napster co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have launched a new video social network called Airtime.
The web-based service uses Facebook Connect to log in, allowing users to chat to Facebook friends. But unlike Facebook’s video calling partnership with Skype, Airtime allows users to connect with strangers, similar to video service Chatroulette.
The network connects anonymous users based on location and shared Facebook interests, who can later choose to reveal their identities if they so wish.
At the launch, which saw appearances from celebrities Alicia Keys, Jim Carey and Snoop Dog, Parker said: “Facebook isn’t helping you make new connections, Facebook doesn’t develop new relationships, Facebook is just trying to be the most accurate model of your social graph. There’s a part of me that feels somewhat bored by all of this. There’s no room for serendipity.”
Fanning said: “We look at Airtime as if it were a smart and engaging host. Airtime is a service that does everything it can to help you find the people that you should know, and then guide your conversations further. These are connections that wouldn’t be possible in the real world.
“If you look at this from an idealistic standpoint, Airtime is something only technology can facilitate. And it is finally possible with the ubiquity of webcams, broadband connections and a highly developed identity layer. We’ve only scratched the surface with what the internet can do today.”
However, the launch was reported to be a bumpy presentation with several delays and technical problems during the live demo.
Airtime is thought to have raised more than $35 million in funding from big Silicon Valley investors, many of whom are reported to have been early investors in Facebook.