Sorry, kids: Rounds CEO and co-founder Dany Fishel has declared that the “era of rapid, random video chat is over.” Today, the video chat hangout service has announced the retirement of its “Meet New People” feature, forcing teens to talk to their actual friends.
When Rounds launched its mobile video chat app for Facebook in December, the application used a social matching algorithm to connect its 7 million users to other people with whom they could watch videos, play games, and share photos.
“It’s actually fun!” an All My Faves reviewer declared. Perhaps too much fun?
Rounds reports that 70 percent of its users are under 25 years old, which may have been too much of a liability for the startup.
“Our users’ privacy and safety is our first and foremost priority; it’s a subject on which we will not compromise,” said Fishel. “Although random chatting with a different stranger every five seconds may still appeal to certain crowds, we decided to retire this feature and leave our competitors to cater to them.”
Rounds’ competitors include Airtime, a service created by Napster founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, as well as Google’s video chat service Google+ Hangouts and video chat services devoted to meeting new people such as ChatRandom and Chatroulette.
At any rate, the company is spinning it this way: “Rounds helps friends and family members feel closer when distance separates them – by sharing activities, games and experiences in longer and more meaningful conversations,” said Fishel in a statement.
On Rounds, the conversations last an average of eleven minutes on mobile devices and more than twenty-one minutes on Rounds’ Facebook app, the company said. More than 10 percent of Facebook conversations last more than thirty minutes.
“With so many teens and tweens making Rounds their hangout network of choice,” added Fishel, “we decided to focus on what our users really want: memorable experiences with the people they care about most.”