Skip to main content

Reddit’s new feature is bringing back AOL-style chat rooms

Reddit is launching a new throwback chat tool to connect complete strangers in small groups.

In a move that feels like a modern take on AOL chat rooms from the 1990s, Reddit launched the Start Chatting button Wednesday. The feature matches Redditors with other available, online users for small group chats.

Since January, Reddit’s existing chat tool has spiked by 80 percent. The new Start Chatting button differs from existing chat rooms in a few key ways.

Rather than serve as a chat room for all members of a community, Start Chatting is designed for more “intimate” discussions with smaller groups.

“This is the most connective feature that Reddit has added in light of COVID-19, and we’ll continue to introduce products that bring together and inform users in a beneficial way, so that we can all get through this together,” Alex Le, vice president of product and community at Reddit, said in a statement.

When users click the Start Chatting button, Reddit matches them up with other members of the same community that are online and interested in chatting.

The chats are also easier to access — users just click on the “Start Chatting” option at the top of the community’s page to generate a new small group chat. (Users need to be logged in and members of the community to see the button, which appears on both desktop and mobile applications.) Reddit says the tool makes it faster to connect.

The Start Chatting tool is randomly generated, Reddit says, based on other community members that are online and also interested in chatting. The resulting small group chat room is designed to be a small group discussion connected to the theme of the larger community.

Reddit’s rules still apply to the small group chat rooms, and the platform says if you block another user, you won’t be matched with them again in another chat.

The platform isn’t done with new chat features, however. Reddit says it’s working on a new feature focused on hyperlocal communities.

The Reddit Start Chatting button is rolling out today, April 29, to select communities, with the feature coming to additional communities in the next few weeks. 

Editors' Recommendations

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
Edit. Share. Repeat. PicsArt adds new chat feature to encourage remixing photos
picsart adds remix chat screen3

PicsArt wants to make photo editing more social. Today, the mobile app launched Remix Photo Chat, which allows users to share images within private groups for re-editing. The feature builds in the original Remix, which allowed users to tag their photos, indicating whether they are free for others to edit and “remix” using publicly posted images.

While the app is both a photo editor and a social platform, the latest update now allows users to engage in on-one-on or group chats, editing images not shared publicly. While editing photos for a chat with friends may mirror Snapchat, in PicsArt, the photos aren’t designed to disappear after viewing, but instead encourages users to edit the same image. PicsArt says the new feature encourages users to do things like personalize group photos from events, start a photo editing contest or troll friends with an edit of their selfie.

Read more
Time machine brings Smeg's retro-style yet tech-filled Portofino range back from the 1950s
smeg launches portofino range kbis 2017 dsc 0491

With a dash of vintage style and a heavy dose of modern technology, Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg debuted a prototyped version of its new Portofino Range at this year's Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando, Florida. Checking at 36 inch wide and (soon to be) available in seven different colors -- olive green, red, white, stainless steel, black, and yellow -- Smeg's Portofino is a classic appliance-lover's dream. Prior to KBIS, the range nabbed the Good Design Award at the Chicago Athenaeum — which is Chicago's museum of architecture and design.

Though Smeg has consistently made a name for itself delivering retro-inspired appliance collections, the Portofino exudes 1950's style in every way. From its classic color schemes to the actual construction of the range, Smeg left no vintage stone unturned. As mentioned above, however, the Portofino comes packed to the gills with modern range technology that assures owners that, while it looks like something more than six decades old, it certainly doesn't perform like it.

Read more
WeChat’s censorship system extends beyond China’s borders, finds new study
apple tencent wechat tip deal

WeChat is muting certain keywords and websites for its domestic users even if they re-register with an overseas phone number, claims a new study by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab.

The popular messaging platform is owned and operated by Chinese internet giant Tencent, and now boasts 846 million users, making it the fourth largest app of its kind in the world. WeChat’s services are no longer limited to messaging and voice and video calls, it also offers games, mobile payments, and bots. The platform’s model is the envy of Western messaging services, in particular Facebook Messenger -- which itself has pushed through a number of updates to bring it closer to WeChat.

Read more