Napster founders launch Facebook video chat service called Airtime

Napster co-creators Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have launched a new service that allows Facebook users to video chat online.

The service, called Airtime, was launched on 5 June, and celebrities like Alicia Keys, Jim Carrey and Snoop Dogg were on-hand to show off its features.

The browser-based service does not require any applications to be downloaded - simply a Facebook account and a webcam. As well as offering video chat capabilities, Airtime allows Facebook users to connect with each other based on location and listed interests. Users can remain anonymous until they choose to reveal their identities.

"All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know. That wasn't always the case. If it weren't for the Internet, Fanning and I would have never become friends. As we move from a social graph to an interest graph, there are great possibilities for our world. That's what we're trying to tap into with Airtime", said Parker.

"We look at Airtime as if it were a smart and engaging host", Fanning added. "Airtime is a service that does everything it can to help you find the people that you should know, and then guide your conversations further. These are connections that wouldn't be possible in the real world".

This feature, which the duo claims will "bring spontaneity to the Internet", rings of ChatRoulette, the popular chatroom through which random strangers can talk through text and video. But unlike porn-infested ChatRoulette, Airtime promises to be a cleaner, safer way of making friends online.

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