A few days ago, users of Hong Kong’s iTunes store were able to download the app, which is now available in other locations.
The app is the company’s attempt to introduce a messenger app which fits with the way that people communicate with each other today. Livetext has certain similarities with Snapchat and other video-messaging apps, but with a focus on one-to-one conversations.
Yahoo launches Livetext in New York
Yahoo launched the app at an event in Manhattan on Wednesday, describing it as a “live video texting” platform. Chats will not open unless both parties agree, which reduces the possibilities for abuse or spam.
No group chats are yet available on Livetext, but you can let individual users see where you are and what you are doing as you write text messages to them. A video stream is available, but it doesn’t include sound. Yahoo claims that some people prefer not to respond to voice calls, and the video only stream affords “a way to connect that’s quick and non-intrusive.”
The basic premise of the app is that you can send short video clips to someone as you text them. There is no support for links or other media like photos. The focus is on quick text chats rather than ongoing conversations, and the thread will disappear as soon as the session ends.
Attracting users is current top priority
Livetext is a combination between Snapchat and a GIF, and Yahoo hopes that it will allow intimacy between users. “We want to create the emotional connection,” said Yahoo product manger Arjun Seti. “We want to make sure you can get into a conversation as quickly as possible.”
The new app is the first to be released by the MessageMe team, which Yahoo acquired last year. Android and iOS users in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and France will be able to download the app on Thursday, and those in Hong Kong, Ireland and Taiwan already have access to it.
Yahoo’s strategy for making money from Livetext is not yet clear, and the current focus is on attracting a large number of users. “We want to start by finding that audience,” said Yahoo VP Adam Cahan. “Once you get to scale, there are opportunities to monetize.”