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Showing posts from June, 2010

How I'd change Chatroulette: make it like Foursquare

Chatroulette is both interesting and disturbing. For those unfamiliar, Chatroulette is a chat site which randomly pairs two webcam users. There are no profiles or a sense of identity so pairing tends to be “unexpected.” Male naturlist and underage kids show up more than most and its in all sorts of legal violations.

But its hot. Even Jon Stewart (and friends) are using Chatroulette.

Like other online fads, though, Chatroulette will go to the deadpool unless it can mature (and deal with the gavel.)

So what can they do?

Match me better

Recommendation engines like the famous Netflix algorithm rely on tons of profile data in order to make the best possible pair. However, Chatroulette doesn’t have ANY profile data - or even user accounts. As it stands right now, there is no data to build a recommendation on.

A simple solution would to de-anonymize by adding Facebook Connect & MySpaceID. While that would remove some of its allure, there’s a larger issue - legal agreements. By using said servi…

Google Voice: Converging Mobile and Web

I must admit I wasn’t impressed with Google Voice at first. I didn’t see a need nor how it solved a problem. Now, however, I’m a huge fanboy. But its not why you think.

Google Voice is based on the acquisition of GrandCentral in July 2007. At its core, Voice is a call routing tool that integrates Calls, SMS, & Email in one service. With advanced rules like direct-to-voicemail or “don’t ring on weekends,” I can control my phone service like a conductor controls his orchestra.

That’s great, but where’s the innovation? Well, Voice brings a mobile-only service (SMS) into my browser. I can have zero bars and still get that text about 5 dollars pitchers @ happy hour. Awesome. I can also search my transcribed voicemails like I would email. Space Odyssey status. SMS is over 18 year old and hasn’t changed much. Except for now, it is distributed and cached. This is way beyond mobile web; its product synergy. And I’m a fanboy.

You might be saying, “well, Foursquare and Twitter are mobile appli…