In what has been seen as a surprising move by many, Yahoo has taken its first significant step into the dark social space by launching a messaging app called Squirrel.
With Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger well on track to hit 2 billion users each, it’s fair to say Yahoo will be starting right at the very back of the grid.
The iOS and Android app was spotted by Android Police on Google’s Play Store, though it’s currently set to invite-only mode so you won’t be able to find it by searching the Store. You can, though, request an invite code by emailing email@example.com.
The product description reads:
‘Organize groups and chats the way you want, so you can keep up without getting lost in the noise. Squirrel is invite only for now. Ask a friend with the app to invite you to a group!’
The big selling point appears to be a group feature known as ‘Rooms’. Users can create groups as normal, but also separate rooms for specific people or topics. You can chat in the main room if you want everyone to see your banter, but also take a group member aside for a private chat in a side room.
And in a nod to privacy, Yahoo is also making a big play of the fact that users can invite their friends by sending them a link, doing away with the need to share their contacts with the company.
Oath – Yahoo’s parent company – says its looking to improve “group communication in everyday life”. Whether the improvement will be vast enough to tempt users away from Whatsapp and Messenger remains to be seen.