Chatroulette Gives Rise to a Genre

Remember Chatroulette, the Web site that pairs strangers for anonymous video chats? It was all the rage among the Web’s tastemakers early this year.Then the creeps took over, and the technorati moved on.But there was something enduring about Chatroulette’s mash-up of serendipity and human connections. Now a number of entrepreneurs and Web tinkerers are hoping to spin that concept into business opportunities — while keeping the creep factor to a minimum.One of them is Matt Hunter, a 27-year-old software developer in San Francisco who created TextSlide. It matches random users and lets them chat via texting.To protect privacy, the service displays only users’ screen names as well as their area codes, which Mr. Hunter hopes can serve as an icebreaker. When they tire of one another or the conversation veers off topic, they can request a new partner.

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