Chatroulette offline for revamp; what will it reveal?

Anonymous Webcam/chat site goes offline, saying experiment #1 is over, but promises launch of a new and updated version of the site.

Chatroulette is down but not out, promising a revamped site.
Chatroulette is down but not out, promising a revamped site. Chatroulette

What does the next spin of the wheel hold for Chatroulette? The Webcam/chat site apparently went offline Sunday but is promising an update and relaunch sometime Monday.

Webcam

The site now greets you with the following bare-bones message:

"The experiment #1 is over now. Thanks for participating.
Renewed and updated version of the website will be launched today."

Unveiled late last year, Chatroulette lets you bounce from one anonymous video chat to another, with some people seeking a meaningful conversation and others seeking something more risque. If one person doesn't meet your chatting fancy, you simply click Next to jump to the next one.

Run by Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old student in Moscow, Chatroulette has captured attention as a unique type of social networking site. It's also encouraged some folks to find clever and creative ways to express themselves online . The site's popularity has even triggered a few knock-offs, including Facebook app ChatImprov and ShufflePeople .

But Chatroulette has also garnered criticism for giving online screen time to people engaged in activities most of us probably wouldn't want to see. It's also raised concerns among parents fearful that their kids may see strangers exposing themselves and doing other inappropriate things. At the very least, children may end up in video chats with adults whose intentions are shady at best.

Though Ternovskiy may have started the site more for fun, the teen has been talking to investors and developers about where to go next with it, which we may see once the "new and improved" Chatroulette opens for business on Monday.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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