Google has already integrated messaging features into its YouTube app to increase user engagement. But, some employees don’t look too impressed with the experience as they’ve now built their own dedicated version called Uptime for the same.

Uptime has born out of Google’s in-house startup incubator program ‘Area 120‘, which was flagged off by CEO Sundar Pichai last year. It allows employees to dedicate 20 percent of their work hours on projects of their interest. This provides employees with a chance to set up their own companies, without losing sleep over their current job.

The very first product to be released from the said startup incubator is a group messaging app called Uptime, which allows you to share and watch YouTube videos together with friends. This experimental app is an amazing mix of the regular YouTube experience bumped up by peppy and vibrant new graphics, sparkles, hearts and emojis — seemingly targeted towards millennials.

The said application, initially spotted by The Verge, is currently available only to iOS users, that too on an invite-only basis. Uptime has been described as under in the description box within the App Store:

Uptime is a place to share and watch videos together with friends. Easily share your favorite YouTube video and bring friends together to watch, chat, and have fun.

As for the experience, you’ll need to log-in with your Google account to get started with Uptime. All contacts connected to you through the said email address will be added to your friend list. The first window which appears after you open the app is the Home screen, that shows you videos shared and being watched by others in real-time.

The highlight of this video sharing app is that it allows you to watch and discuss any YouTube video right that instant. The app has been designed in such a way that the length of the video is spread across the screen in the form of a square – on the edges. This has been done to make it easier to witness who is watching what part of the YouTube video, while also engaging with them in the same window.

You can either search or past the URL of the video you want to share with your friends on Uptime. Then, you can watch these YouTube videos together in real-time using comments, temporary sparkles, attaching stickers to timestamps, heart (or favorite) a video. All the engagements in Uptime might disappear once they move off the screen, but are visible to everyone.

Further, the application does come with its certain set of restrictions. While the problem of looking for new users in nothing new, the app doesn’t allow you to stream content from YouTube Red, videos with music, and private videos. It currently also does not support live stream recoding or viewing and the content has been age-restricted to, as I said before, make it more suitable for upcoming GenZ or millennials.

Still, cutting through the clutter that is YouTube, Area 120 has brought to us something promising in the form of Uptime. We’re hoping to see similar exciting experiments and research material coming from behind the walls of this in-house incubator. Also, we will be on the lookout for an Android variant of Uptime as well.

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