June 5, 2012
Napster Co-Founders Launch New Social Video Service
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com
The social-video site will be connecting millions of people based on interests and social connections, similar to how Google's video chat service works on its Google+ social network. Airtime will be integrated deeply into Facebook, so its audience is over 900 million people from the start.
During a demonstration to reporters on Tuesday, Napster co-founder Sean Parker opened up a video chat with Facebook friend Olivia Munn.
Munn, an American actress and model, then brought in rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Joel McHale into the video chat.
The demonstration was less than fantastic, as glitches kept occurring and engineers tried get Airtime's functionality into the limelight.
Parker and Shawn Fanning, who also co-founded Napster, met online in a chat room 15 years ago over a shared interest in computer security and hacking. The two created Airtime to explore "what is possible when large numbers of people are brought together" on the Internet.
“There´s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the Internet,” Parker said in a press release. “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."
Fanning said Airtime is a service that can help you find people that you should know, and guide your conversations.
"These are connections that wouldn´t be possible in the real world," Fanning said in a press release. "If you look at this from an idealistic standpoint, Airtime is something only technology can facilitate. And it is finally possible with the ubiquity of webcams, broadband connections and a highly developed identity layer."
He added that "we´ve only scratched the surface with what the Internet can do today.”
Airtime connects users based on location and shared Facebook interests. By clicking the "Next" button after connecting to someone, users are able to discover new and interesting people on demand.
Users will also be able to connect and experience live events together, such as watching YouTube videos.
In order to use the service, Facebook users just need to go to Airtime.com, and click "launch airtime," which then re-directs you to a section on Facebook where you would give the application permission to access your profile.
If a user does not answer the Airtime call, then you can leave a video message for that person to check when they get back to their Facebook page.
The startup has raised almost $33 million from investors, and made its first acquisition before it even launched by purchasing Erly, a social content-sharing startup created by former Hulu employees.