Squirrel Group Messaging App being tested by Yahoo

Devesh Prabhu/ May 4, 2018/ Android, iOS, Mobile, Phone, Smartphones, Windows/ 0 comments

Yahoo looks to be going bonkers. It is thinking to get back in the messaging app game. It looks like Yahoo is trying to do it. They have launched the Squirrel Group Messaging App. The Squirrel Group Messaging App is invite-only currently.

There are many messaging apps that we use on our phones currently. We’ll at least have one or two. Yahoo, is looking to make use want to use theirs. Yahoo is currently testing a group messaging app. It has named it Squirrel. The main focus is group messaging. It is available on Google’s Play store.

Features include chat rooms, secret rooms for private messages, and blasts (something like an announcement for important messages). You will be able to share docs, hyperlinks, and, of course, pictures.

Squirrel is turning out to look more like Slack. Yahoo’s Squirrel is going to compete with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Both these apps have more than a billion users. They also allow group messaging. Squirrel has a tough market ahead of it to come to the top.

Chat apps are the craze nowadays. Google, itself seems to not get enough. It already has Allo and Duo. Yahoo mostly fell out of relevancy when you compare it with Apple, Google, and/or Microsoft. Yahoo got acquired by Verizon. It looks like it got a lease of life, and are trying to make the most of it with the new Squirrel.


Squirrel Group Messaging App being tested by Yahoo


Squirrel: A Look

Squirrel looks to be about organization. You get conversations divided into rooms and in them groups. You can enable or disable notifications (per-room). You can set rooms within shared groups as secret. Everyone won’t see them. Something called "reactions" is there, it may be either a sticker or emoji concept. There is “Blasts” more like a Facebook Poke or @tag from Telegram. You get attachments. Activity view would be something like the blue tick or green tick from WhatsApp.

You can download the app from the play store. It is invitation only currently. After signing into your Yahoo account, the app throws an error.

Size wise, Squirrel is 13 MB. You need Android 5.1 and above. It is available for iOS also. You can also go to this registration site for an invite code.

There are numerous messaging apps on the Play Store as well as the App Store. All combines, they are more than 5 billion in active users monthly. This is last year. FB Messenger and FB WhatsApp have surpassed 2 billion active users already. Messaging app popularity is not slowing down. Yahoo’s Squirrel is joining the race to catch the flow. Squirrel is specifically focused on family, friends, and work groups looking to exchange messages, links, and share photos.

Squirrel’s biggest plus point is to enter into any group you have to be invited. People have to invite you with a link. Just pass on the link and invite new members.

Yahoo Messenger was launched some 20 years. That was in 1998. It was, then, an early mover and a leader in the instant messaging market. Back then, it was a computer chat service. It was a first generation messaging service and program. Yahoo Messenger’s functions and roles were superseded by quicker and more useable mobile-based messaging apps. Ex-Yahoo employees created WhatsApp.

Squirrel is expecting to find grip by opting for the group messaging experience rather than direct messaging. It nearly resembles the old IRC and the new Slack. What you don’t get is app integrations. People in groups are in the main room/box. You get access to side rooms/boxes. In those separate boxes you can have different conversational topics. It may also have one-to-one conversations.

You can mute non-relevant boxes. An admin would be able to send “blasts,” much like an alert. Best used for important announcement or messages. Any activity in groups would be logged within a feed highlighting your activities.

Yahoo is trying combine chat, email, and content sharing which people are already doing. It looks like it is going to be mushy affair.

Yahoo is not the only one in this endeavor. Facebook is trying to promote its “community” feature. Facebook has been experimenting and re-build its own regarding groups. Facebook has been doing this with all its products.

It is a good idea keeping Squirrel currently closed and invite-only. Yahoo is tweaking it continually, and closing the gap between bugs reported and bugs squashed. The plan would be to roll out widely, and start new groups at a later time with a more stable release.

The question is, is there space for Squirrel in-between all these group messaging apps.

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