Even YouTube Wants in on the Messaging App Revolution

May 17, 2016 - 2 minutes read

mobile messaging apps

It’s no secret among Chicago iPhone app developers that messaging apps like Telegram and WeChat represent the future of the mobile experience. Even social networks have been becoming increasingly private (Snapchat’s rapid domination among young users stands as living proof), while chat apps like Line and WhatsApp are now used for the sake of their enhanced features and encryption rather than the lower cost per message compared to SMS.

Big companies like Facebook have taken notice, bidding on user attention with huge investments into stand-alone messaging apps like Facebook’s Messenger and Google’s Hangouts. Now, even YouTube is getting in on the trend with a new private chat feature — signifying that integrated chat may soon be an expected feature among social apps. (Not a surprising trend, since social apps rely on engaging users natively to compete.)

While YouTube seems to have no fear of losing ground in the user-generated video category, the company nonetheless quietly launched a native messaging feature. The feature — which was invite-only as of two days from launch — is widely seen as a defensive move to keep pace with the increasingly social mobile environment. It also fixes some of the problems inherent in the video-sharing company’s public commenting platform, which fell back to its former low standard after the Google+ social network failed to gain traction and shut down.

Private messaging may not solve the plague of abuse and trolling in YouTube comment threads, but it does offer users a more pleasant alternative. Most importantly for YouTube’s mobile app development team, private messaging keeps users in the app, rather than using it as an in-and-out content hosting source for conversations held on other platforms. (Basically, and easier solution to video sharing than copy-pasting links into emails, SMS, etc.)

As Amazon moves into the video space with aggressive initiatives like Amazon Video Direct, users of the YouTube mobile app can expect to see rapid developments and feature additions over the coming year. One thing’s for certain — there’ll be more messaging, and the platform will feel more social.

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