Viber, the messaging service, announced Tuesday (Dec. 20) the ability for users to send videos as messages to each other.
According to a report by TechCrunch, the ability to send video messages will be part of a new version of the app that will include Chat Extensions, which enables people to bring in information from outside services. The service will initially include information from six apps, including Giphy, Wikipedia and TheMovieDB, reported TechCrunch. The information can be brought into ongoing chats. Viber is also refreshing its iconography, noted the report.
In an interview, Viber COO Michael Shmilov told TechCrunch the updates for the app, both the iOS and Android versions, will be live shortly and are making their way through the approval process. Viber currently has 860 million registered users and roughly 260 million active users. The company is constantly on the hunt for ways to stand out from the pack in the messaging space and ways to compete better. While sending video messages isn’t something new, Viber is betting some key differentiators will be enough to keep customers as customers and, for those who download it, to have reason to keep on using it. For instance, Viber developed a standalone service that is accessible from the messaging screen that enables users to press one button to send a video message. Competing services require a little more work to send off a video message, noted TechCrunch. Shmilov said the video messaging feature will likely be used when users are involved in long conversations where texting would take too long.
In the case of Chat Extensions, the executive said Viber is going slowly in the beginning, in part because it wants to be selective in what it offers customers. “The challenge here is not just to run and copy everything from others but to look at what we can build for our users, the right things for Viber users to enrich their experience,” said Shmilov in the report. “Pushing more and more things is not the agenda for us.”