There’s an abundance of truly excellent videos on YouTube, but sharing them with friends can sometimes be awkward. Sure, you can just shoot them the link, but will they ever watch it? Or, you could post it to your Facebook page, but you risk the social network bombarding you with invasive ads relating to your video for all of eternity. With Google’s new Uptime app, you can make YouTube video-watching itself a more social experience.
Available on iOS only for now, Uptime describes itself quite simply as “a place to share and watch videos together with friends.” Developed under Google’s Area 120 initiative (which lets employees devote 20 percent of their work hours to side projects), Uptime lets multiple people watch, react to, and comment on a YouTube video in real time.
When you open the app, you can see what videos your friends are currently watching. Then, you can jump to exactly where they are in the video. You can chat with one another, use emoji to share how you feel about what’s happening onscreen, or tap the video screen to dowse it in stars. (If you opt for the latter, only you and your friends currently watching the video will see that. All other comments and reactions will be saved if friends watch a video again later.)
As Ars Technica notes, the app lacks a number of the features you find in the YouTube app, such as the ability to upload videos. It’s not a replacement for YouTube, but rather a new way to enjoy it. It’s also—being a side project of Google employees—unclear how well it will be supported by its parent company, or whether some of its capabilities will eventually be rolled into YouTube itself.
And as with all new social-focused apps, it’s lacking in users at the outset. To help get your friends in on the app, you can share links to Uptime videos on social media. Then, you can all laugh (or cry) at videos together.
H/T Ars Technica