Tumblr launches video chat app Cabana as it looks to 'explore a new direction'

Tumblr launches video chat app Cabana as it looks to 'explore a new direction'

Microblogging site Tumblr has launched a standalone chat app to let users "hang out with friends and watch videos" online.

The app is a collaboration between the platform and incubator Polyvore Labs – both of which are owned by Yahoo. The premise of the product is simple: it lets up to six users video chat simultaneously and stream YouTube videos while they are talking.

Tumblr is billing the app as a "digital couch" which pulls together video chat and streaming content. The company has said the concept "tested really well" with 13- to 18-year-olds, but has made it clear that it's not just for teens.

The company has more than 340 million users, many of whom have anonymous accounts and interactions with other users. Cabana will be run as a completely separate app.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Tumblr chief David Karp executive said: "Cabana is really an experience based around groups of people who know each other already that are coming together around a thing one of them might be obsessed with but the rest of them haven't found yet."

"They get to bring their buddies into the know on, or be there when their buddies experience it for the first time. That is a pretty differently shaped network than Tumblr is today," he added.

Tumblr was snapped up by Yahoo for $1.1bn in 2013, but the internet giant has since been bought over by Verizon and will soon be merged with AOL under a new company called Oath.

Discussing Yahoo's write down of Tumblr in 2016 Karp said: "I used that as an opportunity with the team to look forward to everything that we still had to do, [that] we’re still excited to do and we’re working on."

He added that such moments were "always frustrating and bruising" but that he didn't such events discourage his team.

Yahoo is poised to announce its quarterly earnings for the first three months of the year later today (18 April) with analysts predicting a bump in sales revenue for the company.

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