Chatroulette Creator Andrey Ternovskiy Gets an iPad, Gives Us a Peek at Version 2.0

All Things Digital intern Drake Martinet spent a long, cold night in front of the Palo Alto, Calif., Apple store. He filed this dispatch:

What do you do when you’re 17, you’re visiting the United States from Russia, and you’ve created the Internet meme of the moment?

You spend your Friday night camped out in front of an Apple store, of course.

Chatroulette creator Andrey Ternovskiy is a really big deal right now, but he had to wait in line for his Apple (AAPL) iPad along with the rest of us. It was a long wait, so I got him to spend some of it telling me about changes in store for his site, which lets you talk to, gawk at or “next” random strangers.

Ternovskiy has made a subtle but important tweak already–specifically, changes to the “reporting people” function designed to cut down on the male genitalia that famously crop up throughout the site.

I had the honor of going on Chatroulette with its creator, and the changes seem to be working, as we were “nexted” by 30-plus people without seeing a single offense. In one case, we did encounter a couple middle fingers, which Ternovskiy said is an accepted greeting on Chatroulette.

Then Ternovskiy agreed to show me what developments he planning to release next.

First, he showed me something likely to be termed “Chessroulette,” in which a chessboard or other simple game shows up on the screen and users tap out messages. The idea is that they can play instead of type.

“People meet each other and don’t have anything to talk about,” Ternovskiy said. “This is kind of like an ice breaker.”

He also showed me a nearly completed version in which, instead of seeing a small image of yourself and another small image of your Chatroulette pal, “you open the window and you just have one big picture of your partner.”

One thing that Ternovskiy doesn’t have in the works: An iPad version of the site.

Why not? For starters, the iPad doesn’t come with a videocamera. But you could presumably resolve that if you wanted to.

The bigger problem is that Apple’s gadget does not support Adobe’s (ADBE) Flash, and that’s the code that makes Chatroulette possible.

Ternovskiy said it might be possible to rewrite the site in HTML5, which would fix the problem, but he has no plans to do so.

Maybe this will change now that he has his own iPad to play with.

Here’s the video, taken in front of the Apple store in Palo Alto:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik