Bebo, the LiveJournal/Myspace variant social media site which was resurrected from the depths of internet obsolescence by entrepreneurs Michael and Xochi Birch last year, has released its first app. Blab is a video “walkie-talkie” for iOS, allowing users to send messages not only between those who use the app, but also to users who have not installed it.
Bebo plans to release three apps in its bid to revive the failing former social media giant, with Blab being the vanguard. Bebo once boasted 100 million users, a number that dwarfed even their closest competitors and prompted AOL to buy it for $850 million.
Over time, however, Facebook and Myspace whittled away at the user base, ultimately forcing AOL to sell off the failing network, causing Bebo to file for bankruptcy.
The plan to resurrect Bebo incorporates the social network’s architecture with the Birch-owned Monkey Inferno development group, who are currently handling all app development.
According to reports from Monkey Inferno, Blab managed to get 775,000 users to sign up for their waiting list during closed beta, and they expect more in the coming weeks.
Blab is designed to be dead simple to operate – simply hold to record your video, and release to send to the chosen recipient. It’s a process that is deceptively simple when you consider that other apps, notably Snapchat, require you to take the video, review it and add captions, choose the recipient, and then send, making the process more convoluted than it first appears to be.
With this simplicity also comes the ability to share universally; while other apps require the recipient to have the service to receive messages, Blab videos can be sent universally to any user or non-user of the service. Likewise, replies to the video can be made without the service, allowing for new users to test the experience before deciding to install the app.
Monkey Inferno has yet to announce the nature of the two apps in development, but has made it clear that if the app fails internal testing and metrics, they won’t be released.
Given the nature of Blab, we can expect the apps to follow in the same vein of social sharing, but time will tell whether it is enough to save the resurrected Bebo.
[Photo Credit: Monkey Inferno Press Materials]