Why Augmented Messaging Could Change How We Chat
Cyril Paglino, CEO of Tribe, is developing a new way to communicate that blends video and text
With the massive success of messenger platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat and the like, it seems as though there isn’t much space for a newcomer. Against convention then, Cyril Paglino (CEO), Ryan Morris (Head of Marketing) and the rest of their San Francisco-based team are stepping up to the plate with the beta release of their new app, Tribe. Having already tested the waters with an MVP (minimal viable product) which had amassed half a million users while still in its infancy, the crew is confident that their unique blend of ephemeral video messaging and what they call ‘augmented messaging’ will be a home run.
Designed without a keyboard to eliminate heavy texting while enabling users to sift through the interface with just a thumb, the ‘modern-day walkie-talkie’ is by far the fastest way to send and receive messages. Simply holding down on a contact to record and send a short video message is all it takes to communicate with the people in your network. And with closed captions interpreting what people are saying, you can even use the app on silent mode.
“I’ve been traveling the world since I was 16 years old, so while a majority of my friends are from my native country of France, I have many friends all over the world. Now that I live in San Francisco, Tribe is a product that has become a necessity, as I am truly able to stay in touch with friends like never before,” Paglino told PSFK in an interview.
For those thinking that Tribe is a Snapchat imitator, there are some key distinguishers between the two platforms. For starters, Snapchat is more so a social media app than a social media platform, that foundational difference informs every aspect of what those two companies are trying to achieve. As an example, Snapchat stories enables anyone to shotgun their message out into the world, whereas Tribe wants to keep conversations more intimate, and supports group chats instead of offering a feature akin to tweeting or posting a status.
“It works for every use case, whether it be telling my mom I miss her, catching up with old childhood friends, or even managing my team when I am on the road traveling. No other product could allow me to connect with so many people in such an easy and personable way. We have built the most convenient messaging platform for the next decade,” adds Paglino.
But the real magic behind Tribe isn’t its sleight of hand nor its ease-of-use, rather its incredible ability to surface contextual buttons based on ‘magic words’ within your conversations. Powered by natural language processing and voice analysis, the app overlays digital, clickable words atop the user’s recorded video message. The recipient can then click the ‘magic word’ for instant access to content within that domain. Imagine telling your buddy you’re on your way to them, and a link to the Uber app emerges with your current location and your friends’ address already filled in.
To date, Tribe is the first messenger app to capture and interpret intent, which can be an incredibly potent tool for enriching digital dialogue. Quick and easy with an interface ‘so simple your parents could use it,’ the platform feels like its been primed for the digital age: seamless, contextual, ephemeral and secure—with an emphasis on video as the focal medium.
“I have seven siblings in my family and it is nearly impossible to get us all in the same place so that we are able to enjoy each other’s company. Tribe allows us to all chat together and bring our conversations to life with short video messages, bringing our family closer together and enriching how we are able to all keep in touch,” Morris told PSFK.
To join, you’ll have to gather your friends to try it out with you, the idea being that the only way to get a holistic experience from a social app is for it to actually be social. That said, you’ll always have Paglino as a contact waiting to hear your feedback on the other side—he takes about an hour of his time every day to address questions, concerns, and general chats.
The spectrum of possibilities enabled by the app’s simple premise yet brilliant execution is seemingly infinite, which explains why the company has a large pools of students, travelers and managers alike using it to connect throughout the day. And while the app is most popular among millennials, its intuitive nature makes it easy for anyone to pick up and use.
Though it’s too early to say whether Tribe is a hit or miss, the attention to trends coupled with its user-friendliness can easily see the app becoming a messenger must-have in the near future.