Yahoo Announces Its New Social Networking App Livetext

By Vlad Tverdohleb , Jul 29, 2015 10:21 PM EDT

On Wednesday, Yahoo announced Livetext, a new social networking app. The application allows users to chat one-on-one while sending text messages, emoji and streaming video. However, what's pretty weird is that there's no option to share links or other media, no group chat and no voice chat. Users of Livetext will not be able to record or archive conversations within the app.

Including audio chat may discourage sometimes users from using an app, according to Yahoo's senior vice president of design, video and emerging products, Adam Cahan. On Wednesday, in a New York presentation streamed online, he added that Livetext is designed to be used when you don't feel like talking to someone, maybe in a crowed place, in line somewhere or at work. But you would still be able to show off your face or your surroundings in a live video feed.

According to the Yahoo executive, the social app is narrowly focused on in-the-moment conversation and personal interaction. However, the combination of text and video makes Livetext hard to compare directly to any other popular messaging service. It is something like a life gif a silent movie.

Cahan declared that Yahoo considers the social app Livetext as a complement to their other messaging programs. This is a product catering to its own niche. As Cahan explained, users need "different kinds of communications tools" and they are using them in many different ways. Another Yahoo executive, Arjun Sethi, senior director of product management and grow, explained that it can be a big design mistake to clutter up an app with too many features.

To date, Yahoo's mobile focus has been more about providing video, news and other information to users through applications such as its weather and News Digest apps. Yahoo hasn't shown much interest in creating its own social service, apart from its acquisition of the blogging platform Tumblr. However, Cahan explained that many Yahoo customers see it as a place to go for communication services and Livetext comes to serve that audience.

The social app Livetext has been live already in Ireland, Taiwan and Hong Kong. On Thursday, it will start rolling out to five other countries, including the U.S. The application will be available on iOS and Android smartphones and it will be free.

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