Smartphone apps are entering a live-streaming age, with services like Meerkat and Periscope offering instant access to everyone you follow. Yahoo's new Livetext app is the same idea -- but tweaked for more personal, one-on-one conversations. Think soundless video for texts. It's kind of weird.
Where Periscope puts video at the center, Livetext -- as its name suggests -- is more of a text app that adds video context to your conversations. It wipes out the ambient noise that can sometimes plague live streaming and makes a simple texting interface the only form of communication.
Here's a brief example:
So it fits into this weird niche -- not quite live streaming and not quite texting. It's both but also neither. In the brief demo during today's launch, the app seemed to run fine (it was just a demo, after all), but was also pretty basic. For instance, there's no way to even embed links or photos within the texting app. Mmmm, OK.
The app's probably worth trying out if you're a livestream junkie. But it feels like after spending a few minutes with it, you'll just want to hop to Periscope or FaceTime because the app doesn't let you pipe in audio even if you want it. Yahoo's reasoning is that audio is the barrier to connect -- in case it's noisy or what not. But offering the option seems like an easy fix that would slow the inevitable exodus of people who want to transition to talking like normal.
Also, in just the five-minute demo I saw many conversations start off looking like this:
Texting Face is not the most flattering! (Jesus, I need to shave.)
Livetext will be available tomorrow for iOS and is currently in beta for Android.