If you have tried out some of the wildly popular video messaging apps, such as Periscope, Snapchat and WhatsApp, you may have realized that they are not appropriate for all situations. While they allow you to have fun while communicating with your friends, the audio component does not allow you to have private conversations or chat in quiet public places, such as a library or at the theatre. This may be an issue that you did not even realize you had, but a new mobile app is poised to solve it for you.
Yahoo has just released its Livetext app, which allows you to live-stream silent videos along with your texts to your friends. You can watch their reactions to your messages, and have all of the benefits of video without the distraction of sound. This is perfect when you want to hang out with a long distance loved one, but are stuck in a social situation that does not allow for interruptions. While the app seems a bit unnecessary at first glance, it has the potential to give mobile users a new messaging experience.
How Livetext Works
You can start a live video message by creating a separate Livetext user id, and searching for other friends’ usernames within the app. You can also choose a contact out of your mobile phone’s address book, and invite your contacts to download and sign up for the app. Yahoo chose to limit the initial number of users to provide a more private experience, rather than pushing the app to its current user network, which boasts millions of people.
The app uses 3G or better connectivity to stream live video between the two users. Currently, there is no support for group messaging. When you begin to type your text message, the front facing camera on your phone turns on, allowing you and your friend to see one another’s reactions to the texts in real time. If your intended recipient is unavailable, the video stream will be saved until they access it.
Calls can be as long as desired, allowing you to spend hours silently chatting with your friends. Video streams are not archived and cannot be watched at a later time. The quality of the video is dependent upon the quality of the mobile connection, but most mobiles should be able to provide a sufficiently clear display.
Livetext Release Details
Livetext was released on 30 July, in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Ireland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. It is available on both Android and iOS, and supports English, Chinese, French, and German language text messages. More countries are expected to gain access to the Livetext app over the coming months.
While Yahoo developed the concept of Livetext independently, it was not without its influencers. Yahoo previously acquired MessageMe in 2014. Yahoo observed what worked and what did not with MessageMe, which guided their choices when creating the new messaging app.
Livetext and its Competition
While Yahoo’s latest messaging app is distinctive in a cluttered market, it may have some difficulty finding its core audience. Livetext has the spontaneity of Periscope and Snapchat, but without the sound. It adds silent video to more traditional messaging apps, such as Facebook messenger and Yahoo’s own messaging app. It allows users to see and engage one another without the sometimes off-putting encumbrance of audio, which will give younger users both the privacy they require in public and the novelty that they desire in a smartphone app.
While this app may seem like an uncertain move for Yahoo, it may actually make its mark in the mobile messaging world. Targeted squarely at the younger generation, Livetext could pave new paths to spontaneous communications. However, if it does not catch on quickly, it could be buried under the plethora of messaging apps that have already captured the public’s attention.