Tribe Is A Nifty Walkie-Talkie App

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Meet Tribe, a new social app for iOS and Android that is going head-to-head against Taptalk, Snapchat and countless other social messaging apps. Tribe is an interesting take on messaging thanks to its heavy focus on video and neat design.

At heart, Tribe isn’t reinventing the wheel. Everything you can do in Tribe also works in Snapchat or Taptalk. And yet, Tribe focuses on only a few use cases and doesn’t try to do everything, making it a refreshing approach to messaging. Here’s how it works.

When you open Tribe, you get a grid view of all your friends. To record and send a video, you just need to hold your finger on someone’s picture and then release it. And that’s it. You can’t write text or add emojis on top of your video. It’s a constrained medium.

Like in Taptalk, you can also create groups to send a video to multiple people at once. If someone sends you a message, a red badge indicates that you have unread messages. When you tap on a badge, the video fills up the entire screen, showing a looping sequence with location and weather data from your friend.

And, you guessed it, once you tap on the video to close it, it disappears forever. The startup also deletes messages from its servers. Optionally, you can also send audio messages, but it’s clear that video is the central part of the app.

Compared to popular messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage and more, it feels more natural to send a video of yourself on Tribe. On Facebook Messenger for example, sending a video is something you could do but people don’t generally send each other videos according to my personal usage.

And this is key to understanding Tribe. The app is a more personal way of sending each other messages. It’s a way to be yourself even though most communications now happen over text. And it’s supposed to be fun.

Sending a video on Tribe is much faster than writing a long text because it only takes a few taps. By default, the startup doesn’t ask you to confirm before sending a video. Instead, you can cancel your message if you press the cancel button within 3 seconds after sending a video. Everything is designed to make it easier to send messages.

Now, there’s one big remaining question — can Tribe succeed in such a competitive industry? Countless photo and video messaging apps have failed before Tribe. And it’s still too early to say whether Tribe has what it takes to take off. So let’s keep an eye on Tribe and see if teenagers start obsessively using the app in the coming months.