Bebo is back as a messaging app

  • AFP
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2014 11:14 IST

Sixteen months after the social network, which was once bigger than MySpace, was shuttered, its original creators have brought it back to life as a social messaging app with a hashtag twist.

Bebo launched in 2005, which, in tech terms, is an eternity ago. It was an era when BlackBerry was the smartphone king, Facebook was not publicly accessible and MySpace was the biggest social network. Bebo arrived and really shook things up and was soon a bigger hit than MySpace. AOL promptly bought the site for $850 million. But then Facebook use exploded and Bebo died a slow death.

This week its original co-founders (who bought the company back in July 2013 for $849 million less) have re-launched Bebo as a fun-focused social messaging app.

The fun starts with having to create an avatar, rather than simply upload a profile image. Then, when sending a text or picture message to an individual or a group, adding a hashtagged term will result in the app turning the term into an illustrative image, using the sender's avatar.

But it doesn't stop there, early testers of the app have found that using certain hashtags unlock otherwise hidden features -- such as games, music tracks and a virtual sketchpad.

The interactive hashtags are definitely entertaining, but whether or not they'll be enough to make Bebo a credible alternative to already established apps like WhatsApp remains to be seen.

Bebo is available to download on iOS and Android now and a web version is coming soon.

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