Live

Watch CBSN Live

Yahoo's new video chat app has no sound (and that's the point)

Yahoo's Livetext is a new video messaging app
Yahoo's Livetext is a new video messaging app... 01:42

In Yahoo's announcement of its new app for iPhone and Android, the company says, "We wanted to create a new way to communicate, blending the simplicity of texting with the emotion and immediacy of live video, to make your experience spontaneous and real."

Conspicuously left out? Sound.

Livetext, launched Thursday in the U.S., is a one-on-one video chat app. But it doesn't pull in the microphone and speakers for the actual communication part, the way other apps such as Facetime and Skype do. Instead, the app uses only texting. You can see the person you're chatting with, but you can't hear him, and vice versa.

The idea is that video chatting comes with a lot of requirements. You each have to be in a fairly quiet place where you can hear each other and there's not too much background noise. You also have to be somewhere you can actually talk. Livetext gives you the opportunity to video chat (or really, chat, with video) while you're in school or at a boring staff meeting.

And it gives Yahoo the opportunity to try to gain a foothold in a communication arena dominated by Facebook, Google and Snapchat. Its unique vid-text combo -- whether or not it takes off -- is at least a point of differentiation from the big players out there.

"Years ago people used to use Yahoo Messenger a lot ... but they moved onto other things, whether it's Gchat or Snapchat or Facebook chat," CNET's Dan Ackerman told CBS News.

"I think they're trying to get more people to use their messaging service, bring back a little of the glory days, try something new."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.