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LiveText from Yahoo, a rival for Snapchat and WhatsApp?


The Scoop
With its latest live messaging product LiveText, Yahoo is muscling in on the very popular messaging space. Aiming to provide a novel solution to the ambiguousness of texting and the need for privacy to chat, its tagline runs as ‘quick, personal, kind of fun’. But is there room for yet another messaging app? I think so. Let’s take a look at just what LiveText is all about..

Arjun Sethi, Yahoo product manger explains the aim ‘to make sure you can get into a conversation as quickly as possible.’ The app is also ephemeral, (of course) deleting your chats and video as soon as the app is closed.

While it might seem just a little strange to be using a Live Video App without sound this seems to be the USP with this new messaging app – users can exchange live video, text and emoticons – without any audio. Yup my friend it’s silent.

Yahoo Live Chat Wayne Denner Blog Post

Try out
On my first use of the app with my good friend Barry from Dubai’s @CyberSafetyUAE I decided to try it out while in IKEA’s cafe. Waiting. Guys you hear me. I got a few strange looks as I engaged in a live video stream without any audio and with just words onscreen between myself and Barry, it’s like texting someone you can see – but with video. In a nutshell it’s weird but its usage does kinda grow on you. And it’s potentially entertaining for those around you people watching☺.

How it works
LiveText is currently available on IOS and Android. Once installed users are asked to verify their phone number and allowed access to your photos. Upon set up you need to upload an image to your profile – then the app will ask for access to your camera. To find other LiveText users you can add them via their LiveText ID or by syncing your contact list to see which of your friends are already using it.

Once you have some friends added, just tap a friend’s name, you’re on camera and your friend will receive a notification telling them that you’ve started a chat and are typing to them. You wait for your friend to join the video chat, a bar appears at the top of the screen, informing you that the video is now live and allowing you both to ‘chat by text’ live onto the video on screen. But without sound.

As yet there is no ability to group chat via LiveText but this is certainly something which may become available in the future – seems to me to be a likely move. At least for now Yahoo’s LiveText has somewhat of a novelty fun factor – something users of messaging apps may gravitate towards.

So what’s the deal on safety?
As with all messaging and in particular ephemeral apps, remember there are ways to screenshot, capture or save images and content so keep this in mind. With a huge messaging app audience out there who increasingly don’t want to talk but who love video and texting this could just be the next big thing.

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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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