A new website has popped up on the Internet that I stumbled upon called Omegle. The idea is simple yet cool at the same time. When connected to the site you are randomly matched with another individual and placed in a chat room. What happens here is up to you and of course you are dealing with the Internet.
What is Omegle?
It’s a chat room that pairs you randomly with someone else. Both chatters are anonymous, identified only by the handle “Stranger.” You can chat about anything you like. You can share data or talk about the weather. You can make a new friend or frustrate a stranger until he or she chooses to disconnect from the conversation. It’s pretty much a free-for-all.
Either party can disconnect from the conversation at any point. If the conversation isn’t going anywhere or the other chatter goes idle, you can skip out and try again. You may end up chatting with a curious Web celebrity. It might even be yours truly, so be nice.
According to the Omegle blog, the site is the brainchild of Leif K-Brooks, an 18-year-old high school student who lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. Which makes perfect sense: If you've been to Brattleboro, it's easy to imagine how quickly a clever teen might run out of interesting people to talk to. And yet Facebook, with its insistence on real names, has made making friends online so cumbersome. Part of Twitter's charm is its throwback use of quirky Internet usernames. (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg goes by "finkd" on the message-broadcasting service.)
Omegle connects you with another random Omegle user so you can chat to each other about whatever. It’s a peculiar sensation when you first connect, with a “Hi” and they respond with a “Hi”, what to say to this person you don’t know? Well, you can talk about whatever you like, they are never going to know who you are unless you tell them and you are never going to know who they are unless they tell you.
Around 1800 people are now connected and chatting and I can’t help but thinking that the website is bringing us all a bit closer together… virtually that is. Is this what the whole “Web 2.0″ phenomenon was about? I’m not quite sure but it’s pretty damn cool either way.
Leif says he wants to see meaningful discussions and not just trolls and spam and will be looking for a way to crack down on such activity. I wish him well as I continue to explore the far reaches of the Internet and Omengle is taking me one step close.