There is nothing new about Facetime and live videos but aside from being able to comment on the video, there have been few ways in which people have been able to directly interact with the video. The Houseparty app allows a group of friends to stream a live video with their group of friends as a video chat with up to 8 people simultaneously. The app was launched in 2016 and currently has 20 million users who have created half a billion live videos.
The app requires personal information such as name, email, a profile picture and your phone number to be able to add your friends to your profile. Users are required to click the waving hand on a contact's profile photo in order to start a video chat and the screen is split between yourself and the people you are chatting with. The screen can be split into 8 with everyone being able to see each other and chat at the same time. If the chat is private, users are able to lock the chat so that no other users are able to join.
The app is available on Google Play and the Apple Store at no cost but the app runs on wifi and data but, if the connection is unstable, the app will cut off the video stream and revert to an audio conversation. If you feel you need to video chat NOW and just waving doesn't convey your urgency, you are able to buzz them which will send a vibration notification to their phone. If you don’t want your friend to be notified that you are in the house whenever you open the app you can ghost them by disabling this feature.
All videos and messages will be public but clicking on a person's profile and "pass note" allows the users to send private messages to each other. Unlike Whatsapp which notifies all your contacts when you are online, Houseparty gives users the option of "sneaking into the house" which allows you to use the app without letting your friend know that they are online.
It seems the app has attempted to one-up Skype, making it a more group-centered chat atmosphere.