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VYou, vChatter, TextSlide: The new and improved Chatroulettes?

(Screengrab from

When Chatroulette burst on to the Internet, tech-watchers were in a flurry over the site's potential to change the way we interact online.

A few hundred thousand naked men later, interest in the video-chat social site has all but fizzled out. Despite the news that the founder is trying his best to clean up the act by referring its flashers to Hustler, the site has already seen its star wane.

In its stead three new sites are trying to elbow in on the ground it ceded, only this time as scrubbed-clean versions of the site.


Launched first as a Facebook application and now as a stand-alone site, vChatter requires users to sign in with their Facebook identity, ensuring at least some modicum of appropriate behavior. The idea is, if you use your real name, you'll be less likely to drop your pants. It also means that the program can mine your Facebook data to find out what you like and connect you to others with similar tastes. While this might be useful in finding like-minded citizens of the world, it takes away from the serendipity of the total stranger.


Just launched but still in beta form, vYou uses the video chat as an improved question-and-answer format. The home page has a creepy Harry Potter-newspaper type feel, with featured guests, such as Chuck Klosterman, fidgeting in front of a camera looking like he's waiting for you to talk to him. But with this program, you don't actually talk to anyone directly. Users send in questions either by text or by video and wait for people to check the site and film a response. It lacks the immediacy of Chatroulette, but it does seem a great way to interact with experts and scroll through great archival footage of people sharing short snippets of wisdom.


This program gets rid of the whole pesky stumble-on-to-naked-people problem by dropping the video aspect from Chatroulette. Sign up by e-mail now and when the program launches, you'll be able to talk to random strangers via SMS. If you don't like where the conversation is going, you simply text "#next" and you move on to the next one. It has the allure of discovering odd strangers, but without seeing their faces it seems like this may be more of a Twitter conversation than the latest in social media interaction.

By Melissa Bell  | November 1, 2010; 4:04 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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