Sean Parker, one of the co-founders of Napster, brings back Airtime in the form of a video chat room targeted at small groups of friends.
Parker affirms that he acknowledged the initial Airtime's flop as a Chatroulette-style one-on-one app and decided that a many-on-many application is better suited for users of today. With social media so widespread, one often feels that messaging disconnects us instead of bringing people together.
Airtime takes a different approach and aims to gather friends in a chat room where they can talk, watch streaming videos together, share music and recreate the cozy feeling of hanging out in real life.
Parker mentions that whereas Chatroulette was designed with strangers in mind, Airtime is a different breed. The app offers a digital experience that matches seeing your friends face to face. Parker points out that individual streaming channels do create small communities, but they lack "privacy, intimacy and closeness." The company makes a point of being different from public livestreaming apps, such as Periscope and Meerkat.
With Airtime, you can include as many as 50 friends in a chat room, recreating a chill evening in your living room. It may be that evening when everyone shares what marvels of the Internet they discovered or that moment when you are back in town for the holidays and you catch up with old school mates. Users may pop in at any time, and the selected groups of people can immediately engage in conversations and latest video meme exchange.
"Recreating that lost pleasure of sitting on the sofa and watching TV with friends was magical," Airtime says.
A neat feature comes in the form of the video chat, where a maximum of six friends can simultaneously watch a video. A nice touch is that you get to see their live thumbnail reactions to what you share.
The idea behind the feature is that unlike social networks such as Facebook, you play content only for the ones present in the room. What is more, group members can take turns and each can share videos, GIFs or good music. Aside from sharing content from big depositories such as YouTube Live, YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, Vimeo, Giphy, TED, Vevo and iHeartRadio, you may showcase photo slideshows you compiled yourself in your camera roll. With the myriad of apps for photos and collages out there, that can become one of the main attractions of Airtime.
Some might find it odd that Airtime does not use Facebook to automatically log you in. However, the app asks for your phone number, as its social graph is built around your phone number contacts. You can invite as much as 250 persons in one chat room.
The app is pretty flexible in terms of privacy, meaning that the room creator can make it invisible or open, which would help with niche themed rooms, which new members can instantly join without wasting time asking for special access.