MAR. 28, 2017:
We’ve been watching YouTube videos with friends since the platform launched back in 2005. So what’s the big deal about Google’s new real-time video sharing app, Uptime?
When you watch a video, your profile icon floats across the screen, and you can comment, as well as post emoji or stickers. These reactions will be displayed to anyone who watches the video – even if they watch it later. Or, leave some ‘sparkles’ on the video for the others watching with you in real time!
Search, Share, Socialize
The developers, Google’s internal incubator Area 120, say Uptime’s all about harnessing the public socializing that takes place around video content. You can search and share video clips from YouTube to Uptime to make them discoverable by others, plus a check box notifies your friends on the service when you post something. But at present, there is no address book sync feature, so you have to manually invite friends to the app as opposite to automatically importing your contacts from other social networks.
It’s not the first social viewing experience – 2012 saw the Chill app make 1.5 million in investments but was soon shut down the following year – with Viddy, WeMesh, LiveLead, and AirTime all available to download. But YouTube has a lot more resources, which results in a more polished design, plus the ability for friends to see your interactions even if they are not watching the video at the same time.
But It’s Not All Good…
Uptime is not as fully formed as YouTube, so it lacks some basic features, like recording your own video or private messaging, plus it doesn’t support live streaming. You can’t find videos by genre, and there isn’t a search box to find videos already shared to the network. What’s more, it is currently only available for iOS devices (strange, considering it’s made by Google) and you need an invite code to access it (which seems to be no secret: “pizza” FYI).
This all comes off the back of a study published by eMarketer last year, suggesting that Facebook is surpassing YouTube by claiming a 17% share of US internet users watching live videos, compared to YouTube’s 16%. So is this the new way to watch YouTube videos with friends or just another (not so great) imitation of Facebook Live or Twitter’s Periscope?
What are your thoughts on Uptime? Share in the comments!
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