Omegle is an online chat website that allows users to communicate with strangers without registering. The service randomly pairs users up into one-on-one chat sessions where they chat anonymously using the handles "You" and "Stranger". The site was created by 18-year-old Leif K-Brooks of Brattleboro, Vermont, and was launched on March 25, 2009. The name "Omegle" is an alteration of the word omega. The blue part of the logo contains an omega (Ω) turned diagonally. On March 14, 2010, Omegle introduced a video conferencing feature in addition to text chatting.
Less than a month after its March 2009 launch, Omegle garnered around 150,000 page views a day. The use of the mandatory chatnames "You" and "Stranger", the "Talk to Strangers!" slogan of the site, and prompts such as "Your conversational partner has disconnected" at the end of a chat appeared to fuel the popularity of the site.
The kind of chat that Omegle popularized is called anonymous chat, stranger chat, or 1-on-1 chat. Comparisons have been made to early-1990s AOL. The site now provides an Omegle mobile application that lets users chat with strangers from an Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, or Palm webOS device.
The site uses anti-spam software, known as reCAPTCHA, which periodically challenges users in order to prevent spam messages being sent by automated bots.
Omegle now features the add-on, "Spy Mode", which connects three strangers. One stranger asks a question for the other two to answer or discuss with one another. The stranger who asks the question, however, cannot participate in the discussion; they play the part of a third-party observer. Spy Mode is still in beta, which leads users to believe there may be some adjustments made to it. Currently, the script on the page of Spy Mode can be abused, which has resulted in some users displaying offensive and obscene pictures and videos.
Recently, Omegle has added a feature letting users connect through Facebook Connect, in order to meet strangers with common interests. The feature accomplishes this by observing which pages the users have "liked" on Facebook. When the feature is enabled, strangers are still connected to completely random strangers and not always those who share common interests, which is generally the result of the search for those with similar likes timing out.