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His site is the antithesis of Chatroulette, yet he finds something deeply compelling in the idea of a blank screen, behind which lies a crowd of strangers waiting to talk to you. “I have employees I’ve never had a conversation with, but there I am sitting in my office, dicking around with Chatroulette.”The technology behind Chatroulette is fairly basic and not particularly new.But by combining video-chatting technology and randomization Ternovskiy has bucked a decade-long trend that has made the Internet feel progressively more organized, pleasant, and safe.“I just couldn’t feel the value of the money.” He was fired within a month.The following summer, Ternovskiy holed up at home and began to toy with the code for a new site that would re-create the atmosphere of the store.Ternovskiy, an eighteen-year-old high-school dropout from Moscow, has a variety of explanations for why he created the Web site According to one story, he got bored talking to people he already knew on Skype; according to another, it was a fund-raising ploy for a bike trip from Moscow to Amsterdam.A visit to Chatroulette usually begins with a few rushed clicks of the “Next” button, either out of a sense of danger—do you really want to engage with that empty-eyed guy lounging in bed?
To “next” someone has become a common transitive verb.
He worked tirelessly, and began to learn German, Spanish, Italian, French, and even some Turkish. By the second week, he could size up a customer’s nationality and address him in his own tongue.
He didn’t, however, take quite as well to the business side of things.
It took him three days to construct a basic version.
A few months later, it was one of the most talked-about social-networking sites in the world. When you log on to Chatroulette.com, you see a sparse white window with two boxes.
On Chatroulette you can always just disappear.“People are, from a gut, instinctual level, so interested in finding each other.