Google's Area 120 incubator just launched a new app called Uptime, an experimental video-sharing app that pairs friends in one space to watch videos and react to it together. It sounds simple enough because it is. It fuses together a fun reaction system prominently seen on Facebook Live videos and the concept of collaborative viewing parties.
YouTube Viewing Parties Just Got A Bit More Fun
Currently only available on iOS, with no word for an imminent Android release, Uptime, though at its core a video-watching and sharing app, feels nuanced and different from the standard YouTube experience. It has a youthful, eyecandy vibe to it, even, and from this it's clear that the app is targeted for millennials, though any type of person irrespective of age can jump in, of course.
How Uptime Works
The idea is, again, very simple: one video, multiple people watching, and hilarity. A user's profile photo floats onscreen when watching a video inside Uptime, during which you, and other participants of a viewing party can recurringly spew reactions, stickers, emoji, and a handful more wacky visual elements to zing up the experience.
While it sounds great, Uptime isn't new — a dearth of co-watching apps have been released in the past, such as YouTubeSocial, LiveLead, and WeMesh, but to very little fanfare. Where Uptime surges, however, is in its polished design and the experience that goes with that element.
Uptime, which prides itself as "a social video experience," was initially spotted by The Verge, where it argues that the app is best used in tandem with vertical videos, or those filmed via portrait mode. Users can hit up YouTube, find a video, and push it to Uptime, which then makes it discoverable by other people on the app. At present, the app is being distributed via invitation only, so there isn't really many people to readily try it out with. When it launches for everybody, which seems imminent, Uptime could very well be the de facto collaborative watching app, at least on mobile.
Right now, much of the content inside Uptime is aided by a StaffPick feed, which fills the app with a trove oft-comedic clips people can go jump into and react to with friends.
At the moment, it's still very early to judge Uptime, but there's a notable lack of sorting options, though an update can easily add that into the mix. In addition, a search bar is also missing, which again can be easily added via an update. Livestreaming, although far from the app's concept, could also be explored in the future, presumably. It's up to the developers to tinker with the service, but it's up to the people if it'll get any traction.
Even if Uptime doesn't lead to anything significant, the app itself is fun, easy, and no-frills. The message is sent across without confusion: You want to watch videos with friends and react to it in real time? There's an app for that, it's called Uptime.
Uptime is now available as a free download on iOS. Use the invite code "Pizza" to get in.