It's been a while since Yahoo's Messenger has been a big deal. But the Sunnyvale-based company has been rumoured to be working on a revamped messenger app, and it seems like the new app is finally ready.
Yahoo quietly released the newest version of the Messenger mobile app, available under the name “Yahoo Livetext – Video Messenger”, in the Hong Kong iOS app store, according to a report by
The app, which went live earlier this month, tries to differentiate itself from competition by offering a unique form of video texting that combines traditional text messages with muted video.
The idea, according to Yahoo, is to offer a more natural form of communication where users can see each other’s reactions in real-time as they participate in conversations.
Contacted for comment by TechCrunch about the app, Yahoo responded: “We’re always experimenting with new product experiences that delight our users. We have nothing further to share at this time.”
Yahoo missed opportunities to grab a share in mobile messaging despite being one of the first companies to offer instant communication for desktop users.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Yahoo’s Instant Messenger app was one of the popular tools for web users, along with MSN Messenger and ICQ. But the emergence of social media meant Yahoo ceded this space to platforms such as Facebook.
Yahoo has been working on a replacement for its mobile messenger app for several years. It scrapped half a dozen versions, some which never emerged from internal testing. But it has also been making acquisitions to help it develop the next big messaging app.
Last year, Yahoo's purchases included MessageMe, a team which was set to work on internal Yahoo messaging products. Kicksend co-founder Pradeep Elankumaran joined Yahoo six months ago to help with the project.
“Yahoo Livetext” being made available for iOS in the app store in Hong Kong means the final release of the product across regions and platforms could happen soon. Yahoo may be treating this soft launch as a large-scale beta test.