There are several mobile chat apps like Beluga, GroupMe, and Yobongo, but startup Parlor.fm is definitely a chat app of a different color. Its users don’t type – they actually chat! As the company site explains, “Yes, we want you to still talk with your friends and colleagues. But if you want answers, need advice, desire to expand your community in specific areas you need more than just your friends. You want people that are knowledgeable and available to help you out.”
In some ways, MobileBeat reports, Parlor.fm seems to offer a new spin on the social dynamic of video chat service ChatRoulette. Like ChatRoulette, Parlor.fm’s goal is to help users talk anonymously to people you don’t know. At the same time, Parlor.fm has built in a number of safeguards to avoid some of the uglier aspects of the video service. Obviously, without a video component, you won’t have to watch other users star in their own exhibitionist fantasies, but people can still do lots of inappropriate things over the phone, so you can flag users when they’re acting inappropriately. Also, Parlor.fm isn’t totally random — you’re connected with users who share your interests.
The company has released an app for Android, with plans for iPhone, Windows Phone, and Blackberry apps to follow soon. Unlike Facebook, none of your personal information will be shared with other Parlor.fm users – although you can follow-up with people to initiate new conversations. To drive more signups, the company will enlist several celebrities who will post special Parlor.fm phone numbers on Twitter, thus enabling their fans to hear unique content.