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Photo credit: Ben Baker This is how Sean Parker — the famous and sometimes infamous entrepreneur whose legendary credits include Napster, Facebook and Spotify — described how his newest high-profile venture, Airtime, is going so far: “Running a start-up is like eating glass. You just start to like the taste of your own blood.” If that sounds very painful and a bit twisted (as well as vintage Parker), as it turns out, it’s a pretty accurate description of the state of the situation at the much-touted, heavily funded next-generation communications platform. Along with executive turmoil — including the upcoming stepping back of tech lead Eric Feng and Shawn Fanning, Parker’s Napster co-founder, who was the CEO and driving force behind Airtime while Parker was focused on Spotify last year — there has also been a very weak launch in getting Airtime off the ground.
Today we’re excited to launch Airtime, the first live video network. Over the last year, we’ve been hard at work designing and building the first version of Airtime which we are proud to unveil today. Airtime is not just a product, it’s a network service designed to create live shared experiences online, between two sets of people: those that you know and those who you want to know. Airtime is the most efficient, easy to use, browser-based video chat service between friends using their existing Facebook networks.
(Updated with magazine version.) In 2009 a Russian teenager named Andrey Ternovskiy introduced an online video service called Chatroulette, which allowed perfect strangers to meet face to face over the Web. Its cleverest feature was the “next” button—a way for users to dump their conversational partner and connect with a different, random person somewhere else around the world. For many users it became an enthralling way to crisscross the globe in search of someone interesting, attractive, or perhaps just wearing a gorilla costume.
Despite the flame-out of Chatroulette, the idea of fostering live real-time, one-to-one video chats with friends and strangers is still intriguing, at least to Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The two Napster founders have finally taken the wraps off of Airtime , their social video chat service that is part Skype, part Chatroulette, and part SocialCam with Facebook as the layer for matching users by their interests. There are three features in Airtime: There’s a simple one-to-one, web-based video chat service that doesn’t require registration or a download. You just log-in through Facebook. You can talk to other Facebook friends and get notifications for chats through Airtime’s Facebook integration.
Airtime, the next act from Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, launches to the public today. The service is a Web application for person-to-person video calling, with an emphasis on matching people who have common interests. It has been in the works for nearly two years, and has a clear ancestor in Chatroulette , the anonymous video chatting start-up that Fanning and Parker had advised for a time.
Airtime , the social video chat startup created by Napster founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, unveiled itself today after a long period of poorly-kept secrets and barely-muted hype. Think of it as a less-icky Chatroulette with a $33 million wind at its back . And today, we finally got to see it in action.
One minute into using Airtime I was laughing with someone I’d never met. That’s something special when despite all the asynchronous connection, the Internet threatens to make us feel lonely. On Airtime, you experience together thanks to real-time video chat and video sharing .
By Zaw Thet On June 12, 2012 If you happened to be off the grid last week, a new video chat startup called Airtime launched, courtesy of two of my favorite “Sean/Shawns” – Parker and Fanning. I decided to leave an Airtime video message for Parker instead of shooting over the usually obligatory “congrats on the launch” email. Before I left him a message (see screenshot), I jotted down a few thoughts… I have no stake in Airtime at all, but in stock trader parlance, I’m taking the “long” position, even if Daily Active Users have taken a plunge back to ~10,000 with 150,000 MAUs.