“ Running a start-up is like eating glass. You just start to like the taste of your own blood.
Sean Parker on the launch of Airtime, which was released with much celebrity fanfare - and rather embarrassing demo glitches back in June. Since the début of the video-chat service, backed by $33 million in funding, the site has only attracted 10,000 monthly active users so far.
“We are iterating on our approach,” insisted Parker in an interview with at Airtime’s office in San Francisco. “Airtime is finally getting around to some of the bigger ideas that got me interested in this project in the first place.”
Question remains, if Airtime can really lure an audience away from existing services and show an added value over competing video-chat tools like Apple’s Facetime, Google Hangouts or Skype.
There might have been a series of technical glitches at the star-studded press event in NYC, but the essential question for Sean Parker’s and Shawn Fanning’s newest endeavour, Airtime remains — will you join the party?
The Chatroulette inspired live video-chatting platform promises to more “clothed” and wants to focus on video-connecting people with shared interests. Thanks to a deep Facebook-integration, your ‘interest graph’ is the basis to filter people you might want to talk to. Surely we will see an influx of people test-driving Airtime (apparently you could run into Mark Zuckerberg today), question remains if people will leave Skype, Google Hangout, FaceTime and whatever else they might be using and stay on.
Parker hinted at a future direction for Airtime to become your central video-triggerred sharing platform for practically any kind of content. The same way you might be sharing files over Skype while chatting — just much more visual. Mhm, we will surely be watching this space.
Here is what Sean and Shawn had to say:
Today we’re excited to launch Airtime, the first live video network. Over the last year, we’ve been hard at work designing and building the first version of Airtime which we are proud to unveil today. Airtime is not just a product, it’s a network service designed to create live shared experiences online, between two sets of people: those that you know and those who you want to know.
Airtime is the most efficient, easy to use, browser-based video chat service between friends using their existing Facebook networks. The service allows you to share live experiences through content, and expand beyond your social graph to discover new people through similar interests in an environment that is collaborative, fun and safe.
Airtime is now available at http://www.airtime.com/. No download is required. All you need is a Facebook account and a webcam.
Today is just the beginning. We’re happy to say hello.
- The Airtime Team