Chill, which lets friends watch and share videos together, quietly launched on Wednesday.
Similar to Turntable.fm, “chillers” gather in user-created lounges to play videos from YouTube, Vimeo or Hulu (see screen shot below -- our favorite lounge right now is I want my MTV).
Chill is a "side project" from Brian Norgard and Dan Gould, the founders of L.A.-based conversation site Namesake as well as Adly.
Currently, you must have a Facebook friend who already uses the service to sign up. Once you're in, select one of 12 avatars -- male or female, different hair colors and races, with more choices coming soon.
Add videos to the VJ queue by using the search feature or pasting a direct link under "find videos." If there isn’t a VJ spot available -- only five people can be on stage at once -- users can watch the videos from a theater-style auditorium. [ Note: videos don't always load or load right away, clearly some technical issues still need to be worked out. ]
VJs alternate playing videos and gain points if viewers give the video a thumbs up. Eventually, Chill will enable users to redeem points to get more avatars.
“We’ve always believed that flipping through endless channels and passing around non-social links is a terrible way to experience content,” Director of Growth Andrew Skotzko wrote on the Chill blog. “Chill is our first swing at attempting to put the viewer and her friends first.”
The Chill team realized from its success with Namesake that a social experience based around video was worth pursuing.
“There were hundreds of our users sharing interesting conversation around the [April 2011 town hall meeting organized by the White House ] as they watched it together,” Andrew wrote. “We realized that video – much like images and text – with a dash of alchemy can be made into a social experience.”