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If you don't like the looks of things, click "next" and the site shuffles you to someone new. During a recent CNN test of the site, a man from France popped up on the screen wearing a jester's hat and telling jokes in French.
Two men dressed as skeletons were having a dance party to techno music and flashing lights.
The site has been called many things: the new Wild West of the Internet; a speed-dating replacement; a cesspool of porn; a voyeuristic follow-up to Alfred Hitchcock's film "Rear Window"; a way to get people from different social groups to interact.
Jason Kottke, a prominent blogger, wrote that Chatroulette "is pretty much the best site going on the Internet right now." But even the haters seem to agree that the site generates a certain potentially addictive intrigue -- whether it comes from the rush of meeting a new person, or the fear of seeing a stranger who's not wearing any clothes.
(CNN) -- On Chatroulette, a new and controversial Web site, every click lands you in a face-to-face video conversation with a random stranger.
The setup is simple: Activate your webcam and click "play." Then, as people from all over the world pop up one at a time in a box on your screen, you decide whether or not to chat with them.
"My guess is that there's a lot of superficial, but that every once in a while people will strike up a friendship," he said.
"That's something that's always valuable and important." He said people increasingly are forming relationships online, as opposed to only using the Internet to deepen friendships with people they already know.
Several online video services such as Skype and Google Chat let people conference through live video feeds on the Web.But it's hard to say for sure who would be held responsible for any potentially illegal content on the site, and what would be enforced.That's because so many legal jurisdictions could be in play, and because the site chooses video chats randomly, so it may be difficult to prove someone intended to cause harm, or to view illegal images. It may raise them for people that are misusing or abusing the site," he said."It completely goes outside of your comfort zone," he said."Especially with Twitter and Facebook, you're used to associating with people who are like you, whereas on Chatroulette ... "It certainly reminds you that not everyone's like you -- that's for sure. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, said new friendships could come out of these random interactions.
Two of the first four video chatters randomly selected for CNN by Chatroulette were naked when their pictures appeared.