Yahoo has released its LiveText real-time video texting app in India. The app had debuted in Hong Kong and Taiwan and this is Yahoo’s first attempt at launching a new mobile, video-based app for texting. In contrast to WhatsApp or Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, LiveText will let users send live video messages (no audio) to each other.
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LiveText’s Senior Director of Product Development Arjun Sethi spoke to IndianExpress.com, about the app and how Yahoo thinks it can start a new communication trend in the message. Below is an edited excerpt of the interaction.
So, what is LiveText and what exactly does it offer to users?
Well these days people are communicating via the phone and they are always connected. The phone is their first computer. Video calling is now in the past. For a lot of people, the idea that LiveText lets you send videos without sound, is a little shock and awe. However, there is a reason why we ditched sound. From the feedback we got, people said where video-calling goes, they needed to set up everything. With LiveText, it’s a faster form of video communication that relies on body language, the funny faces you make in the video, rather than sound.
What gap is Yahoo hoping to fill with the LiveText app?
LiveText is a new way to communicate. With LiveText, we’re looking at new behaviour when it comes to video texting. Unlike with texting or calling, the video feature in LiveText allows for an emotional response and you can see it in real-time. We’ve also seen in our beta tests that people are using the app more frequently which is a good sign.
Also LiveText allows for Peer-to-Peer Messaging which means it is much more secure and private. We’re not intruding in the middle of these video-messages and nor is any third party.
In a market like India what challenges do you see for LiveText, especially since there are issues with connectivity and given that the mobile market is still dominated by feature phones, budget smartphones?
As far as challenge of infrastructure is concerned, India has been developing fast and even with smartphones we’re seeing lower priced Android phones hitting the market. Our app is optimised for low latency networks. All you need for the app to work is a 3G connection and above. Also the app works on WiFi and since this a P2P network, the video is secure and private.
What has been the response to LiveText? How does it hope to compete against other communication apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc that are popular in the market?
Well so far the early statistics have been exciting and we’re letting users speak for themselves LiveText has been built with users from day 1 and we’ve been getting their feedback. The idea is to help users build their network of friends on the app. With LiveText for instance we’ve given users the option to add their phone number or use a LiveText ID which they can share with friends. Additionally, this does not mean that everyone who is your friend on LiveText can message you always on the app. We will protect our users against spam as well.