Zoom Is Dead. Long Live Houseparty
Video chat platform Houseparty is now the number one app in the iOS store in Australia, Canada, and the U.K.
Last Saturday night, Jason Shaverin, a 36-year-old project manager in London, spent three hours talking to friends on Houseparty, a FaceTime meets Zoom meets trivia–style app that’s been blowing up since the global coronavirus pandemic forced millions into isolation.
“It got hectic,” he says. Houseparty lets you chat with eight people at a time, but it reshuffles the screen every time people enter or leave and often obscures the screen with trivia questions. “There were 16 people on a call at one point, as they were all in couples,” Shaverin says. “I used the app on my iPad to keep track of them all.”
Houseparty has seen user numbers skyrocket in the past three weeks.
Living under lockdown is changing the way people communicate. For those still employed, work video calls have become a fact of life. Shares in Zoom, a popular video calling platform, are up 117% over the past three months. Zoom has been embraced across sectors, from education to fitness, with Zoom lessons, Zoom yoga, Zoom book clubs, and more. The rise of Zoom has inspired dozens of essays and how-to guides on Zoom etiquette and best practices. For many, a Zoom appointment in their calendar goes some way to replace the scheduled theater, sports, and social events that would normally be there. No wonder Zoom is the number one most downloaded free app in the United States in the iOS and Android app stores.
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But in the past few weeks, another videoconferencing app has emerged as a favorite for casual hangouts and catch-ups: Houseparty. Though the app first launched in 2016, Houseparty has seen user numbers skyrocket in the past three weeks — from around 130,000 downloads a week in February 2020 to around 2 million downloads last week, according to data from App Annie. It’s the sixth most downloaded free app in the U.S…