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YouTube in-app messaging coming to iOS and Android

A smartphone displaying YouTube on its screen as it lays on top of a laptop's keyboard.
YouTube is testing a messaging feature on its apps that will let you chat and share videos with friends without ever having to use another platform.

The service is currently being rolled out to a small group of users, with the hopes that word-of-mouth will see it reach more people. The lucky few that receive the messaging feature will be able to invite their friends to chat, simply by adding them to a conversation thread, which will be housed within a new tab.

YouTube is hoping the new feature will encourage people to share more videos from within its mobile apps, reports Wired. A general launch date has not yet been confirmed.

Ultimately, this is YouTube’s major bid to capitalize on the collective experience that comes with group, and one-on-one, interactions. It already has the biggest video service on the web (over 1 billion users and counting), with mobile viewing figures also boasting more engagement than its rivals (an average daily watching session on a smartphone lasts 40 minutes). Therefore, it’s a surprise that the feature wasn’t introduced sooner.

via YouTube
via YouTube

Despite laying waste to the competition, Google will nonetheless be watching its rivals closely. First Facebook, and now Snapchat, have clocked up massive video viewing figures. Meanwhile, a new challenger to the throne has arrived in the form of Amazon, which yesterday launched its Video Direct service for user-created content.

At present, the only option to share video on YouTube is via email or through other social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the remaining usual suspects. A successful messaging feature would bypass the need to post content sourced from YouTube elsewhere, keeping people glued to its apps as a result. YouTube is already home to popular trailers, viral clips, and its superstar creators. Soon, it could also be home to all your friends too.

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