Now that Facebook and Twitter have live streaming locked down, Meerkat is done with it. As it promised, the company has now pirouetted to the next trend -- group video chat. According to Recode, the company behind it has quietly launched Houseparty, a relatively simple app that lets you host video calls with friends. To use it, you just create a new group chat link and invite others using SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook and other social networks. If any of your friends are on the app, they'll be able to join a new chat instantly.
Why, might you ask, is a company getting into something that Skype, Google and others have done so well for years? If the idea sounds familiar, it's a lot like Sean Parker's new group video chat app Airtime, but stripped of features like link, music and video sharing. Given the name, you might cynically think it's yet another attempt to capture the youth and party culture market, sans the broken china and burnt carpets. Apparently the strategy is working, because Houseparty is already bigger than Meerkat ever was after just a few months.
The app launched quietly in February, and Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin hasn't even confirmed that his company is behind it (it's listed under "Herzick Apps"). However, he indicated earlier that he'd launch a social network "where everyone is always live," and Recode's sources say that Meerkat is "definitely" behind it.Houseparty is now available on Google Play and the App Store, and the company is reportedly running a closed beta with upcoming features. Just bear in mind that the "What's New" section says, "Guys. GUYS. We're feeling this new version," and "errryday," in case you're wondering if you're in the target market.