Most of us have heard of the new random webcam chat site Chatroulette. Users login and the site randomly pairs them with people from around the world to chat with via video. If they are done with their current chat (or too grossed out to continue) users can randomly pick another partner to chat with.
The site Tinychat brings that same idea in the form of a twitter client that will enable users to either randomly chat with each other (using Tinychat Next) or link up with your own twitter friends and followers all via video. The difference is that users can customize their Twitter chat rooms and invite who they want to enter the room, and the tweets from those users are displayed at the bottom of the screen. In addition, Tinychat offers the ability to group chat with multiple twitter users. If you just want a secure, one-to-one private video chat, you can lock-down your room and chat that way as well. So think of Tinychat as Twitter+Chatroulette+Skype all rolled into one.
If you choose to customize your room, once you’re ready to chat, you can invite other users to your room using a simple URL that can be sent via twitter, facebook or email. The cool part is similar to twitter trending topics; you can customize your room per title, topic or subject of interest. So if BlackWeb2.0 wanted to start a video chat about “digital diversity”, it could easily set up the room and mass broadcast the link to all who search the topic, to all of its friends/followers, or specifically to individuals of its choice, or I would imagine any combination of the three.
The possibilities for this function can range from solely entertainment use; to celebs putting up “Video Tweetcasts” for all their followers, or run a contest for “one lucky winner” to chat with their favorite celeb; to major companies broadcasting live video conferences of important news, product releases, demonstrations, etc. live via Twitter.
If you are a Facebook lover, Tinychat plans to launch a Facebook version as well. So if your friend, relative, classmate, etc. isn’t hip to the Twitter game, but has accepted Facebook as their main source of “catching up”, they will be able to start up a Facebook web chat and connect with fellow users.
Did I mention the service is currently free? Go to Tinychat.com to find out more and/or to sign up.