Skip to main content

Yahoo’s Livetext messenger is a cross between Snapchat and Periscope

yahoo livetext cross between snapchat periscope e novo app de mensagens instantaneas do
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Fresh off a profitable but slightly disappointing second quarter, Yahoo’s looking to expand its purple tendrils into a potentially lucrative new sector: mobile video messaging. At a New York City event this morning, the company announced Livetext, a video chat app born out the company’s 2014 acquisition of MessageMe.

Livetext, as the imaginative name suggests, is a blend of instant chat and FaceTime-style video (Yahoo describes as “live video texting”). Once you and a partner agree to establish a connection, the session streams from your phone’s front-facing camera footage, alongside which which you can type messages in real time. But unlike Periscope, Meerkat, and virtually every other video messenger out there, Livetext mutes all audio.

The reason, product manager Arjun Sethi told The Verge, is to help “create the emotional connection” and to “make sure you can get into a conversation as quickly as possible.” According to Yahoo’s research, audio during video chat is one of the biggest reasons people don’t use it often. The sound is disruptive, which confers social pressure —  “it feels like you need to make an appointment,” Yahoo’s Adam Cahan told TechCrunch. Remove that distraction and people feel at ease, or at least comfortable video messaging at times and in settings they normally wouldn’t.

Yahoo’s hoping Livetext’s ephemerality and intimacy differentiate it from a crowd of well-established competitors. Livetext borrows pages from some of them — messages and videos from sessions are deleted once the app is closed, a la Snapchat — but Yahoo insists that its potential for growth lies in its uniqueness. “We didn’t want to create a derivative product,” Sethi told TechCrunch. “We wanted to create a brand new way of communicating.”

Despite that grandiosity, the Yahoo’s realistic about Livetext’s prospects. The service launched in limited beta in Hong Kong and Thailand earlier this month, and won’t incorporate any form of advertising before it “gets to scale,” Cahan told The Verge. That slow-and-sure approach is probably for the best — Livetext’s closest competition, Snapchat, has hundreds of millions of users. Messaging kingpins WeChat, Line, and WhatsApp have bases numbering north of 400 million. It’ll be a while yet before Yahoo begins to close those gaps.

Livetext launches tomorrow for Android and iOS.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Twitter now lets you pin DMs, and here’s how to do it
A Twitter logo graphic.

Twitter for iOS, Android, and web now lets you pin as many as six DMs to the top of your inbox.

Until now, the feature was only available to Twitter Blue users who have to hand over a monthly fee of $3 for extra goodies, but now the pinning feature is open to everyone on Twitter.

Read more
Apps to help you start good habits and level up your life in 2022
xiaomi mi 10 pro review apps

Technology played a huge role in our lives in 2021. From healthcare to education, everything happened online through those tiny little icons on our screens. Now as 2022 inches closer, it’s time to rethink our relationship with those glowing, sometimes productive, sometimes distracting boxes. 
As you make your New Year's resolutions, think about how you can use technology to enhance rather than empty your life. For some, this might look like deleting unused, draining apps and for others, it might mean joining productive ones that will improve the quality of your life. 
Need some ideas? Here are the most common apps people are joining in 2022. 
Reading and audiobook apps: Kindle, Kobi, Audible, etc. 
As we’re operating in this information economy, the demand for accessible learning has shot up in recent years. Not everyone has access to in-person classes and libraries (especially during the pandemic), so e-books have played a huge role in filling those gaps. That’s why e-reading apps like Kindle, Kobi, and ePub Reader are in-demand. After all, if you’re going to spend a lot of time on your phone, might as well spend it doing something productive!
“I want to double my reading goal this year,” says Jessica Kats, e-commerce and retail expert at Soxy who spent the lockdown reading 20 books. 

Free reading apps have also helped reduce economic barriers to knowledge. “I have been a bibliophile since a young age, though a few financial constraints held me back from buying paperbacks for a long time,” says Andre Flynn, founder of Now free reading apps are helping users like Andre access new information and fuel their passion for writing without spending a lot of money on physical books. 
Along with e-books, users are also dipping their toes in the world of audiobooks. People who don’t get a lot of time to sit down and read are consuming information through audiobooks, many of which are now freely available on apps like Audible (free trial),, LibriVox, and more. 
Language learning apps: Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise, etc. 
Learning a new language has dozens of benefits, so this new year, users are setting aside time to invest in language learning by installing apps like Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise, and others. 
“Instead of spending half an hour every night scrolling mindlessly through social media, I'm choosing to spend that half-hour learning a new(ish) language and strengthening my brain,” says Brian Donovan, CEO of TimeShatter.

Read more
U.K. agency says Apple and Google are stifling user choice in their app stores
App store icon showing three notifications.

Apple and Google's mobile platforms have faced a maelstrom of criticism regarding their respective app store and operating system rules, and the U.K.'s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) is adding to that cacophony of voices. After the result of a probe this year, the CMA concluded that the mobile duopoly is leading to "less competition and meaningful choice" for customers.

The CMA highlighted a few incidents of concern. Apple famously not allowing Microsoft's xCloud game streaming app into the App Store merited a mention, as did Google's deals with smartphone makers to include Chrome and other Google apps in exchange for access to the Google Play Store and Google Play Services.

Read more