The whole concept of social media is built on sharing. Every social media platform seeks a way to make sharing content easier – but Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are all unilateral platforms. Rabbit, a video chat app, seeks to open up the conversation by allowing streamlined content-sharing between a limitless amount of users.
The application is intended to run in the background and to be treated as a social arena that one can just pop into. It is organized into user-created ‘Rooms’ (there is no cap on number of rooms you can be in) and within the Rooms, individuals can create individual or group chats.
At its core, Rabbit is a video chat program like Skype, but with its own quirky features to make it stand out: instead of squares, people’s faces appear in porthole-like circles and one can hover over any public Room and ‘eavesdrop’ before joining a conversation, kind of like real life. Although interesting design features, perhaps the most important thing Rabbit offers is its content-sharing capabilities. It is the app’s screencast feature, sharing while simultaneously chatting, that makes it revolutionary.
Normally if you were to FaceTime or Skype someone, and were talking about, say, Frank Ocean at the Grammys, you would have to wait while the other person opened their browser, opened YouTube and watch the video independently of you, before being able to discuss it. With Rabbit, it is as if you are in the same room, on the same couch, watching the performance together and analyzing it as you go. You can watch a movie together on Netflix or discover songs together in a new way.
Co-founder and Rabbit designer Stephanie Morgan told Rackspace:
When my colleagues and I looked at the video chat space, we realized that there was a huge opportunity to do something that would be awesome and be amplified by really being able to spend meaningful time with your friends
Rabbit makes conversations more intimate, more dynamic and a bit more natural. Says Morgan:
Rabbit is all about making meaningful connections and mirroring the way we interact in the offline world, online.
The app is currently only available as a native Mac app and is in a closed beta testing stage for US-only users. To sign up, you must go to their website to receive an invite. Once accepted, you can invite as many Facebook friends as you like to start chatting. And because Rabbit is linked to Facebook, it hopes to avoid the NSFW material that dominated other single-to-many public chat spaces such as ChatRoulette where users were anonymous.
Rabbit’s tagline is: ‘We are totally revolutionizing video chat.’ And while this is a bold statement for a program still in beta, we can imagine it to be a prophecy fulfilled.