There’s texting, good old-fashioned phone calls, voice messages, email, Slack, GChat, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and a slew of other ways to get ahold of people from your smartphone. But Yahoo announced today that they are adding a new platform to the mobile communication game with the launch of Livetext. “It’s a whole new way for people to connect,” says Adam Cahan, director of video, design, and emerging products at Yahoo. “Every new app and platform shift comes from a change in our communication style, and we are catering to ease and simplicity of texting with the expressiveness of video.”
Livetext is just that, texting with a side order of silent video. Basically it’s FaceTime, Snapchat, and texting all in one. You see a person’s face when they are responding to your message, but only while you are exchanging messages and there is no sound. It’s not meant to be an extended video chat (because these, along with regular old phone calls, are a disruption to your day, according to Yahoo). Therefore, Livetext’s only method of communication is short bursts of silent video with text overlay. Like Snapchat, there is no message history so you can’t save conversations, but you can leave messages that your friends can open one time when they come online so they can respond before your note is lost into the digital abyss.
Cahan stated that Livetext was developed to appease the current state of mobile addiction that our world is in. According to Yahoo’s stats, there are currently 1.8 billion connected devices being used across the world on a daily basis, and 59 percent of users meet the description of mobile addicts (defined as a person who utilizes 60 or more app launches per day). But the numbers of “mobile addicts” are growing because of younger generations becoming independent users of devices. That’s why it’s not surprising that Livetexting, which at its very base is silent, no history, instant video chatting, was tested by an overwhelming majority of teenage girls in beta. However, Cahan says he uses the app exclusively. ” I rarely answer my phone, I barely listen to my voicemail, and I found myself wondering why do I feel uninhibited when I text but not during call or video?” he says. “This is how you can mesh private conversation with context and reaction.”
The app will be available for free download in the United States for Android and Apple platforms on Thursday.