When an amalgam of Facebook and Chatroulette comes along - you know you have to write a post about it quickly. Chatville is a Facebook app that brings random live video chats to Facebook.
The premise is exactly the same, but Chatville have tried to take the "fun random" bit of Chatroulette, and cut out the "scary naked" bit by tying it to FB profiles.
Since chats are with other Facebook members only, your chat partner sees your first name, profile picture and can click through to see your public profile. If you know someone can see your name, you're less likely to take your willy out, goes the reasoning. They've added a compliments feature where you can give your chat partner badges or compliments, a nice way to sweeten the whole experience.
It's smartly integrated to the rest of Facebook too by allowing you to take pictures or videos of the conversations you have and post them to your wall, letting you share your experiences and pulling your friends in.
"It combines the best elements of chatroulette with the gaming and viral mechanics of apps like farmville" says Steven Shapiro, CEO of Chatville makers Digsby and we can see what he's talking about.
Most interesting perhaps is the Chat with Friends option - which reduces the chat partner pool to just your friends and lets you have chatroulette style chats with them over webcam. The introduction of video chat will take killing time on Facebook to a whole new level... Only problem here being that while "nexting" some random guy in Oklahoma is one thing, "nexting" your old school friend could be a lot ruder, so when talking to friends the conventions are going to have to change a little bit.
Okay so the app has just gone live, it's a little slow and there were only about 3 people on when I signed in twenty minutes ago - but you can immediately see the potential. People spend loads of time on Facebook anyway, and adding in the addictive random quality of chatroulette to it could be really engrossing.
A cunning secondary feature of the app is the Photobooth bit, which just lets you take pictures of yourself with some funny filter and publish to your wall. And if there's one thing people like it is pictures of themselves.
You need a webcam of course, otherwise all that's required is a relatively good internet connection to support the live streaming.
Will be very interesting to see how this takes off...
Chatville on Facebook here