Israeli startup rounds, which offers users a live social platform that combines live communication and social activities, has launched a new instant group video chat app. With it the company hopes to take down WhatsApp.
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The new app allows up to twelve people to interact with one another at the same time.
Founded in 2008, Rounds offers users the ability to chat with one another as they play games and share photos. Until now, the users needed to invite one another through Rounds. But the new service will allow people to invite friends through any social networking platform to join their Rounds groups with a special invite code created for each group.
The people who answer the invite will be able to video chat with one another. The special codes, the company maintains, will ensure privacy and prevent interloping strangers from trying to join the groups.
This feature was added, in part, because of earlier criticisms that its service had made it too easy for predators to spy on its underage users.
Dany Fishel, Rounds’ co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement of his company’s new service that, “Instead of messaging back and forth on WhatsApp, users can now instantly chat live with their groups of friends with a simple tap of a button. While there are several video communication apps out there, we believe the ability to chat, and connect over content and shared experiences with multiple friends at a time, is a much needed and missing utility.”
Rounds now also offers users the ability to speak with one another and video chat. “Along with the existing text messaging, video chatting and the ability to enjoy social activities, games and content together, is what sets Rounds apart and offers users a real true-to-life experience, allowing users the flexibility of a text-only, audio, or multimedia video experience, ” said Fishel.
In May the company launched Rounds Live, which extended its live social communication platform with a transparent overlay that adds video and text chat functionality to any online content. It adds “video bubbles” to any web page and lets its users get together and interact with their friends while enjoying content together. It is a transparent layer that sits independently on top of the content, regardless if the content is static, live or VOD.
Rounds is available on all mobile platforms.