NEW YORK — At Tumblr headquarters, Yahoo unveiled a new messaging service called Livetext. It’s essentially a silent video chat app overlaid with texts.

In a demo, Yahoo revealed an experience that feels like Periscope, but for one-on-one conversations. It’s designed so that you can video message in public without drawing attention to yourself. The app will be released in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, and France starting tomorrow.

Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Yahoo was testing out a new live video app concept in Hong Kong. Yahoo says it was also testing the app in Taiwan and Ireland.

Messaging is a hot market. For evidence, just look to Facebook’s $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp or the successful breakout of Facebook’s Messenger app into a whole platform. But Facebook isn’t the only one thriving on messaging; Snapchat, Google Hangouts, iMessage, WeChat, and others are raking in users.

There of course have also been a run of losers. Facebook launched a Snapchat competitor called Slingshot that’s failed to take off with audiences, and smaller players have also faced hurdles in capturing a mass following. In fact, Yahoo’s past attempt at messaging, Yahoo Messenger, was pulled from the App Store some time ago.

It’s a saturated market, to say the least, and Yahoo will undoubtedly have difficulty penetrating it, no matter how great its new video messaging app is.


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