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Less is more: Yahoo releases soundless video…and it makes perfect sense

Though it was released under the radar in Hong Kong and Taiwan earlier this month, only yesterday did the ‘real world’ (meaning U.S, U.K, Canada, Germany and France, but not New Zealand or Australia) get a chance to try Yahoo’s latest, and strangest messaging app, Yahoo Livetext.  

Simply put, Livetext a messenging platform that allows for one-to-one live video chatting featuring on-screen text, but, and here’s the kicker, without audio.

Arjun Sethi, senior director, product management at Yahoo says in a blog post that while we modern types are well and truly living in the age of mobile, too often our communication platforms don’t work in an intelligent and seamless way with our day-to-day lives.

“While texting is quick and easy, you often miss the meaning of a message, [and] have to explain your reaction (‘LOL’), or wait hours before getting a response. And to actually talk on the phone, you not only have to be available, but you also have to be in a place where you can chat.”

While that’s not the most profound revelation, it’s true, and it’s in addressing these simple issues, that Livetext’s simple genius resides.

Livetext allows users to engage via live-streaming video without any of the restrictions that ‘inappropriate’ audio prohibits.

Think about it: traditional audio-inclusive video and chat platforms are, due to that audio content (ie the sound coming out of your speakers, and your own, spoken responses), public platforms.

Those audible components, therefore, often prevent users from using these platforms in public places. Some situations are simply not appropriate for a speech-based mobile conversation, and many conversations are not meant for public consumption.

Livetext simply side-steps this problem, replacing the audio with text-based communication, while preserving the video.

It’s telephony come full circle, and it’s a simple kind genius.

And if we sound like we’re gushing here, we kinda are. The simplest ideas are often the best, and Yahoo’s Livetext is a great exampe of that. 

Jonathan has been a writer longer than he cares to remember. Specialising in technology, the arts, and the grand meaning of it all, in his spare time he enjoys reading, playing guitars, and adding to an already wildly overstocked t-shirt collection.

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