Sean Parker's latest company is a social video venture called Airtime. The Napster co-creator and under 40 billionaire has teamed up with former Napster developer Shawn Fanning to build a Facebook-connected app that allows users to participate in live video chats.
The new platform, connected through Facebook, allows users to log on and take advantage of a number of video-chat windows including a list of your friends you might want to talk with and a list of topics you might want to talk about.
While chatting with friends might be a little too boring for some users, Airtime lists trending topics such as American Idol and sets up public chats that include fans of that show. All users need to do is click on that topic and they will get set up in a video chat with someone else who also likes that show.
Airtime also takes advantage of a user's location in that it allows them to start a random conversation with someone who is on Facebook and lives in their geographic area.
Another advantage of the video-chat platform is that you can further interact with people through watching YouTube clips together.
Many critics have compared Parker's latest innovation to the once popular website Chatroulette, which hooked people up with strangers online for quick, random video chats. While the site claimed innocence, it gained a lot of negative buzz for being associated with people who were chatting while simultaneously being naked.
Airtime, which claims to be a safer alternative to the flopped site, is linked though Facebook. In doing so, it knows your real identity and can ban you in immediately if you show up for a video-chat lacking the appropriate clothing, according to Forbes Report.
New York City played host to the official Airtime launch on Tuesday, June 5, as Parker and Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning announced their latest business venture.
As the video-chat platform has been creating a lot of buzz in the recent weeks, the launch event did not go as well as some would have hoped.
According to CNN, Airtime demonstrations, which included celebrities like actress Olivia Munn, the rapper Snoop Dogg and Joel McHale, an actor on NBC's Community, crashed and failed multiple times.
Airtime demo = Snoop, Jim Carrey, Ed Helms, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Joel McHale, Alicia Keys, Olivia Munn + a million tech problems, tweeted Abby Gardner, from Marie Claire.
Glitch after glitch marred Airtime's first public showing, leaving the event's collection of celebrities riffing and improvising onstage while engineers tried to fix the bugs and revive dropped connections, CNNMoney's Laurie Segall wrote.
But since Airtime is not the first tech company to have a failed demonstration -- Steve Jobs' botched iPhone 4 demonstration during his World Wide Developers Conference in 2010 - insiders aren't making a huge deal out of the weak launch.
What they seemed more concerned about is answering the question of why people would want to use Airtime.
All Things D blogger Liz Gannes recently raised concerns of the site turning into just another Chatroulette.
Will it fill up with spammers and skeezy dudes? Is it technically sound? But what is clear is that there are high expectations for Parker and Fanning's next act, Gannes wrote.
Others like Forbes's Anthony Wing are less skeptical, expressing high hopes for the new company.
The excitement of meeting new people with whom you have no 'friends' in common, only interests, geography or kinks, are probably enough (to propel the product), Anthony Wing Kosner wrote. Parker told (Forbes writer Steven) Bertoni in an interview Sunday, 'Fun crazy things should happen online.' OK. Let the wild rumpus begin! (Once the technical glitches are worked out...).