Yahoo has created Livetext, a mobile messaging app that overlays a texting conversation atop a live video feed of both parties with the sound turned off.
The company unveiled the app during an event in New York City on Wednesday.
It has been testing the app in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Ireland and will roll out Livetext to Apple's and Google's mobile app stores on July 30 in the U. "We created a product where we wanted to bridge the gap between the simplicity and ease of texting with the live connection, the synchronous connection of calling, the expressiveness of that," said Adam Cahan, Yahoo's senior VP of video, design and emerging products, at the launch event.
He declined to say how Yahoo plans to make money from the app.
For example an older guy could have a problem doing something on his computer and want to ask his daughter for help but she's in a meeting on the other side of the country. Or he could use Livetext to show her what he's trying to do, and she could respond over text without audibly interrupting her meeting. Cahan said one of the biggest obstacles people face in using video chat services is the sound because it makes conversations more public than the parties involved may want them to be.
The ultimate confirmation of the gender of the finger at the other end of the chat-line would obviously be a voice chat (and one cultivated an ear to distinguish genuine women from desperate men doing their best Lata Mangeskar impression) and the holy grail, video chat. College kids and yes even school kids would come to cybercafes, in groups, and huddle over one Pentium machine, giggling and nudging each other, bags placed strategically on laps. Testimonials, the politics of which would have overwhelmed even Machiavelli.
*Would you tongue kiss someone if they had food in their mouth? *Can I join the Army even though I'm a drug addict?
Yahoo has a new mobile messaging app that it thinks will fix the biggest problem with video chat.
That could make the app's default silence awkward -- maybe even more awkward than normal video chats can be -- but it could also reinforce how Livetext is different from a normal video chat service.
While there's no limit on how long Livetext conversations can last, the app may be more useful for shorter, more utilitarian conversations when a text message would suffice but live video could add necessary context.