ChatRoulette, the king of 2010 Internet fads, first garnered attention around February 24th. By March 5th, when Jon Stewart, Katie Couric, and every other mainstream news personality marveled at its inappropriate wonders, it was passe. And now, months later, the random video chat service has relaunched, promising a penis-free zone.
Unfortunately, it doesn't quite deliver. The new site design is certainly more minimal than the previous design, but it's not necessarily better-looking. Plus, it's now quite buggy. I had a lot of trouble trying to get a connection, and the "next" button—our only defense against those masturbators—is now an unlabeled grey bar under the screen. That's it up at the top—just a video screen (the volume controls are embedded within), the unlabaled next button, and a text box.
My tally from the first ten chatters shows that wunderkind founder Andrei Ternovskiy hasn't quite managed to keep out the dong. Four of the ten were masturbators, one was a shirtless man at a desk (so who knows what he was doing underneath), two were bored-looking teenagers, one was a bored-looking couple, and two were ads for naked women located elsewhere on the Internet. In other words, the ratio is still pretty lousy.
Ternovskiy has said he wants to make ChatRoulette less, well, gross, and more of a spontaneous communication platform. But version 2.0 doesn't seem to have done the trick.