Random chat using XMPP/Jabber, anyone ?

September 23rd, 2006 by lucas

A Random Chat applet hit digg recently. It allows you to chat with a random stranger visiting the website at the same time as you.

It’s a good idea, but it would really be much better to have something similar based on Jabber (and maybe it could become a Jabber killer app’ ?)

Some thoughts:

  • It should be easy to get in the system, but slightly more difficult to get out of it : the main problem with the current website-based system is that it doesn’t work very well outside of flash-crowd periods. For example, you could be considered available for Random Chat as soon as you are “Available” or “Free for chat” on Jabber.
  • The system should provide strong anonymity (no direct messages between participating users to hide their JID) and allow for blacklisting to avoid the usual harassment problems.
  • The system should work with a classic Jabber client: no specific software or support for unimplemented JEPs should be required.
  • The system could include a tag-based system to be able to chat with people with similar interests or speaking the same language(s)

So, is somebody interested in working on this ? It would be quite easy to do with XMPP4R or another Ruby library. (This was from my list of things that I would really like to see implemented, but I won’t have time to work on it myself)

Related links:

4 Responses to “Random chat using XMPP/Jabber, anyone ?”

  1. sander wrote on 09/23/06 at 4:30 pm :

    Virtual Presence is more cool…maybe someone can create very good Jabber-based virtual presence tools for Firefox, Konqueror and Safari.

  2. Vladimir Vrzić wrote on 09/23/06 at 4:45 pm :

    ICQ got this right from the start. The client has a capability to search for other users by age, sex, location, interests, and it is very detailed. In the search results you see if the user is online (if that user wants to make his presence public), and start chatting immediately. I think it also supports directly starting a random chat.

    IMHO that kind of global user search with presence indication would be a killer. Something like a JUD search on steroids.

  3. Trebies wrote on 09/23/06 at 5:30 pm :

    There is a expertise matching service with Jabber: http://www.qunu.com .

  4. Jean-Louis Seguineau wrote on 09/23/06 at 7:17 pm :

    Lucas, it sounds like you could leverage something like this Python conference bot for GTalk (http://coders.meta.net.nz/~perry/jabber/confbot.php).
    It was created to solution the lack of MUC on the GTalk servers, but essentially provides the base for what you need. It supports presence subscriptions. The main modification would be to modify the behaviour related to presence into “pairing” users randomly instead of gettin them talking together.

    By the way, how would you end up a conversation like this random chat? By changing your presence to DND or something like this?

    Any way if you know some Python, you should be able to put a prototype together quickly.

    Cheers

    Jean-Louis