Yahoo is testing Squirrel, an invite-only group messaging app – TechCrunch


Messaging apps collectively handed the 5 billion mark for month-to-month lively customers final 12 months, with Fb’s WhatsApp and Messenger on monitor now to move 2 billion customers apiece. With messaging’s recognition displaying no indicators of slowing down, a brand new app is coming into the fray in hopes of catching the wave. Yahoo has quietly launched a brand new iOS and Android messaging app referred to as Squirrel, centered particularly on buddy, household and work teams that need to alternate messages and share photographs, hyperlinks and different media.

The important thing with Squirrel is that entry to any group is by invitation-only. That’s, you invite individuals with a hyperlink, no must entry your wider set of contacts as a part of the method of selecting up new group members. That could be a vital element, given each Yahoo’s status within the wake of its large knowledge breach a few years in the past; and the truth that some could now be turning off to simply how a lot knowledge messaging-dominant platforms like Fb might need about you, beginning together with your contacts.

Squirrel was first noticed earlier by AndroidPolice, and Oath (Yahoo’s guardian firm, which additionally owns TC) has since confirmed to us that the app is in take a look at mode. The power to kick off a dialog group can be at present in invitation-only mode, and seems to require a Yahoo login to get began for now.

“At Oath, we’re at all times searching for artistic methods so as to add worth to our members’ lives,” a spokesperson stated in an emailed assertion. “We pay attention intently and often take a look at new product concepts based mostly on analysis and suggestions. Proper now we’re experimenting with a brand new invite-only messaging app centered on bettering group communication in on a regular basis life.”

Yahoo has had a blended monitor document in the case of messaging apps. Yahoo Messenger, first launched 20 years in the past in 1998, was one of many early movers and leaders in on the spot messaging within the days when it was primarily a computer-based chat service. However like different companies in that first technology of messaging, its position and features have been swiftly surpassed by sooner and extra useful mobile-based companies, and particularly cell messaging apps (notably, WhatsApp was created by ex-Yahoo staff).

Within the years since, Yahoo has had average (however removed from blockbuster) success with Yahoo Messenger on cell, which at present ranks at 160 on iOS and 117 on Android within the social networking class, based on App Annie. Different makes an attempt at constructing new messaging merchandise have been short-lived.

Messaging could be a robust nut to crack.

Squirrel is hoping to search out traction by digging into the group expertise first fairly than providing yet one more direct messaging choice to customers with a bunch choice tacked onto that.

It really works somewhat like old-style IRC, or, when you like, new-style Slack, minus the a whole lot of app integrations. These in a bunch get entry to a predominant room, and have the choice of making side-rooms for separate matters or dialog threads, which may probably embody 1:1 conversations.

Rooms that aren’t related to you could be muted, and those that are given administration entry can ship out “blasts”, or alerts for precedence messages. All exercise in a bunch additionally will get logged in a separate feed that highlights your mentions.

From what I perceive, a few of what Yahoo is making an attempt to do is construct a brand new product round the way it sees individuals already sharing content material and conversations in teams in e-mail and its different communications merchandise.

It’s not the one one recognizing that chance. Along with the group options of most cell messaging apps, Fb — in its new push for “neighborhood” — has been increasing and revamping its personal method to teams throughout its vary of merchandise. There are additionally a good variety of group-first apps, with business-user choices together with the likes of Slack and Groups, and people for shoppers together with GroupMe. Is there room for somewhat Squirrel within the forest of apps?

The thought will probably be to maintain the product in a semi-closed, invite-only mode whereas Yahoo continues to tweak it, with the plan being to roll it out extra extensively, making the flexibility to start out a brand new group open to anybody. We’ll replace with extra as we be taught it.

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