UK startup Six3 today launches a free service that allows users to send short, private video messages between smartphones and computers. The company is one of the 22 finalists from the latest London Seedcamp, the European seed investment and mentoring program which we’ve written about extensively in the past.
Six3 video messages can be created on iPhones, PCs & Macs, and viewed on other video-capable smartphones and feature phones. It will shortly be rolled out to other mobile platforms, including Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. But is video-messaging likely to take off in a big way? Maybe.
In the same way as you would send a text message to someone when a full-blown conversation isn’t possible, video-messaging can be good if you want to instantly share a key moment with friends and family.
“Hundreds of millions of people have discovered the power of video communication through video calling services,” says Tim Grimsditch, co-founder & CEO at Six3. “But people want the convenience of being able to create and view messages any time they want. Most video messaging services only allow people to communicate between one brand of smartphone, we want anyone with a video-capable Internet device to join the conversation.”
Six3 messages are optimized to transfer quickly over 3G and even 2.5G connections, with a cloud-based approach meaning that messages and contact lists are accessible from any compatible device – be it desktop or mobile, and it also supports group conversations.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the name, Six3 video messages can be up to sixty three seconds long…though we’re not entirely sure which came first, the name or the seemingly arbitrary message-length restriction.
Six3 was founded in July 2011, and the service was built from the ground up in six months. The company’s CTO, Simon Frost, was previously Technical Architect for the BBC iPlayer, which is Europe’s largest Web TV service, and Grimsditch is the former global head of entertainment product marketing at Nokia.
“From our early testing, we found that families and close friends really enjoy using the service to keep in touch, sharing everyday messages and experiences,” continues Leigh Middleton, one of Six3′s co-founders and the Chief Product Officer. “Our goal was to make the service as accessible as possible – not just for early adopters, but for their grandparents and grandchildren. As a result, we’ve focused on making the service as easy to use, and as inviting as possible.”
We’ve previously written about a similar app called Vimessa, a Y Combinator and Startup Fund-backed service based out of San Francisco, which offers an iOS-only app for users to record and send video messages. So two similar apps in as many months suggests that video-messaging could be the next big craze. Will we all be v-texting each other this time next year? Only time will tell.
Of course, there’s also the likes of iMessage which allows users to send video messages between iPhones, but it doesn’t permit video messages between Macs and PCs, or other smartphones. Six3 strives to make its service platform agnostic, working on smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, connected TVs and any other device Web-enabled device.