A team from Google’s internal incubator, Area 120, has just turned YouTube into a more social experience with the launch of Uptime, an app that lets users watch videos together with their friends.
When watching a video, the users profile icon floats across the screen and they can choose to comment on the video or post emojis like the smiley face, surprised face, heart eyes, etc. These reactions are displayed to anyone watching the video, even if they’re watching at a later time. However, the user can leave “sparkles” on the video itself, which are only shown to those who are watching in real time.
Users can search and share video clips from YouTube to Uptime, making it discoverable by others. A checkbox notifies friends on the service when a video has been posted. As of now, there is no address book sync feature or ability to import contacts from other social networks — user can only send invites to friends.
Uptime is not designed for private sharing, but instead offers a different take on the more public socializing that takes place around video content.
A majority of the content in the app has been seeded by its creators and it is these “StaffPick” that fill the app’s feed. The picks include a range of content from TV show clips to funny videos and others that make sense for co-watching.
This isn’t the first social viewing experience to hit the market, in 2012 a video-sharing app by the name of Chill came onto the scene with 1.5 million in investments, but was soon shut down in 2013 due to a bad premium content model, according to a Gigaom report. Of course, YouTube has more resources to work with. Others like Viddy, WeMesh, LiveLead, and AirTime have also taken a stab at the idea.
But right now, what Uptime lacks, is the ability to filter the community’s shares and an easy way to scroll back up to the top of the screen with one tap, a common iOS gesture. This could be by design, as the app is meant for continuous scrolling and not a feed where all entries are displayed. As of now the app doesn’t support live streaming, but of course, this and other features could be added if its creators continue its development.
The app is available only for iOS devices and is currently in invite-only mode, unless you have the invite code, “pizza,” which will grant access.