Following a flurry of rumors circulating the web over the past few weeks, Yahoo unveiled its new messaging product on Wednesday called Livetext. The update unharnesses the company from its ancient Yahoo Messenger product and gives it a more robust tool to compete with the likes of everything from Snapchat to Microsoft’s Skype (sort of).
Without a doubt, the most unique thing about the app is that it is live video texting “without” sound. The text appears over the person’s live video image (including emojis!).
The effect is a rather interesting new take on messaging — a move that is very difficult to accomplish at this point — in that it looks like you’re watching a billboard you might see on the street, with the background playing host to a stream of text and iconography.
Aside from using the app to communicate with a friend, like Periscope and Meerkat, it’s not hard to envision the app being used as a promotional tool, with a location or event in the background as a tailored corporate or event message scrolls down the screen. One issue that might trip up such uses is the fact that the app is currently only available for one-to-one use (but clever users will likely figure out a way around this).
However, when asked about possible competition with apps like Periscope and Meerkat, a Yahoo spokesperson told Mashable Livetext wasn’t really designed to compete directly with the new crop of live video streaming apps. Nevertheless, the users will likely have the last say on that.
Finally, the video text chats that occur cannot be saved or embedded, and Yahoo has no plans to include the feature at this point. So until someone builds a hack for the service, those cool video text chat moments will essentially be ephemeral.
The app is already available in Hong Kong and Taiwan and will go live for iOS and Android in the U.S., UK, Germany and France on Thursday.