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Houseparty

Group Video Chat

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Houseparty is both a trailblazer and a throwback. The app, which allows up to eight people to chatter away in a single video-chat session—was designed to be at once groundbreaking and nostalgic. By cutting back on clutter, it returns you to the true calling of messaging apps: to connect friends with friends.

Using Houseparty couldn’t be simpler. Log in, set your status to Online, and you’re ready to go. To start a “party” (the app’s name for a video-chat session) go to your friends list and select a name. Or join an existing party by clicking its icon. Houseparty lets you monitor your privacy and availability, but that’s pretty much it as far as features go.

Free of bells and whistles, the interface lets you start a party fast.

Such simplicity is by design. Houseparty’s founders describe the app as a virtual take on the school parking lot—where friends can congregate, catch up, and come and go.

It’s also a relatively passive experience. Houseparty is all about “presence”—being around to chat rather than reaching out to people directly. For readers of a certain age, it’s akin to coming home from school and jumping onto a messaging app.

Houseparty has caught on with a certain demographic. Sixty percent of the app’s 20 million users are between the ages of 16 and 24. In that group, the typical person has an average of 21 friends. That might not sound like a lot when the number of followers you have often counts for social cred these days, but it does make sense given Houseparty’s reason for being. The app is less about showing off who you’re with and more about simply being together.

    Houseparty

    Group Video Chat

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