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article imageGoogle launches new experimental YouTube party app for the iPhone

By James Walker     Jun 26, 2017 in Technology
Google has opened up access to an experimental YouTube app to all iPhone users. Called Uptime, the app offers a more social YouTube experience that lets you watch videos together in a group. It's meant to be accessible, fun and focused on sharing.
Uptime was originally unveiled back in March but you needed an invitation to be able to access it. As TechCrunch spotted, this requirement was dropped last week, allowing anyone with an iPhone to try out the app. As yet, there is no Android version available.
Uptime is a very different take on YouTube. While it can access all the videos on the service, the interface shares practically nothing with the main YouTube app. It's bold, bright and colourful, evidently focused on being a social platform rather than an entertainment portal.
The app is built for times when you want to share a video with friends and hear their thoughts on it. Rather than share a link in a messaging app and wait for their response, Uptime lets you view the video together and interact in real-time. There's Facebook Live-style "reactions" that let you express emotions, built-in emoji options and a comments feed for your group.
As part of making Uptime public, the Google team behind the project has debuted a new home screen that's said to make it easier to find something to watch. You can press the "share a video" button to start a group and initiate a new co-watching session. Below this, you'll see a list of all your friends who are currently viewing content and a feed of reactions they've posted.
Uptime for YouTube
Uptime for YouTube
Uptime is an intriguing concept that provides a glimpse into what YouTube could evolve into. Google's already making the video streaming site a more social platform with its upcoming interface overhaul. Uptime notches the idea of a Snapchat-inspired YouTube up several more levels, reimagining the service as a social-first experience. Its developers said the app is meant to provide the "best experience" for social video viewing.
"We’re excited to announce Uptime is now available to all iOS users in the US! We’ve been hard at work in the past few weeks making sure Uptime can provide the best experience for you and your friends," said Uptime. "Download Uptime from the app store, find your friends via Facebook and start your journey down the rabbit hole."
Uptime remains in development for now but its future is uncertain. The app is an experimental project that's being built by members of Google's Area 120. This is the company's in-house maker lab where employees looking to hone their entrepreneurial ambitions can put their ideas into production. The apps aren't actively supported, promoted or branded as Google products so they could disappear or be shelved at any time.
Uptime is available today in the App Store to U.S. users. The team behind the project hasn't indicated whether an Android app is planned so it could be a long wait. Uptime attended the VidCon conference over the weekend though, at least demonstrating there's some commitment to the app. You can follow its development on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
More about YouTube, Video, Social media, uptime, Apps