Yahoo Introduces Livetext, A Silent Video Messaging App
Yahoo joins crowded mobile messaging space with Snapchat-like chat app for iOS and Android devices.
Playing catch-up in the mobile messaging battle, Yahoo today announced Yahoo Livetext, a Snapchat-like live chat app.
The app uses mobile phones’ front-facing cameras to launch one-to-one video conversations. The video is presented without sound; users communicate via text that is overlaid onto the videos.
The company’s press release said Livetext “blends the convenience and ease of texting, with the immediacy and vividness of live video, but without the audio — so you can use it in any context.”
The experience is akin to creating real-time personal GIFs with text commentary. As with Snapchat, the video chats are ephemeral and can’t be viewed later.
“Every platform shift leads to new forms of communication, driven by our desire to connect and interact in richer ways,” Yahoo’s senior vice president of video, design and emerging products said in the release. “We wanted to create a new way to communicate, blending the simplicity of texting with the emotion and immediacy of live video, to make your experience spontaneous and real.”
Whether Yahoo’s effort will catch on remains to be seen. It’s a late re-entrant into the mobile messaging space after essentially punting; it stopped updating the Android version of its Web-based chat platform last October. Meanwhile, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, Kik, Snapchat and others have built huge user bases, some in the hundreds of millions. Yahoo believes that Livetext’s big differentiator is that its video is silent, allowing people to use it discreetly in almost any environment.
Yahoo has been testing the app for several weeks in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Ireland. It will be available for download tomorrow in the iOS and Android app stores for users in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and France.