In late 2018, Dom Hoffman, the founder of Vine, tweeted this, promising a new looping video app in ‘spring 2019’:
Now, spring 2019 has come and gone. The homepage is still a simple one-pager, inviting visitors to sign up for information with the tease that Byte will be ‘a new looping video app by the creator of Vine.”
Byte sent out its first beta invitations in April 2019 – so, technically, spring 2019! – promising to expand to more testers soon.
Hoffman tweeted this video, showing a feed of Byte videos made by accepted testers. He noted that it ‘feels’ like the beta tests from before they launched Vine.
How do I sign up as a content creator?
This link from the footer on Byte.co takes visitors to a simple Google Form. It is a form inviting content creators to join its ‘budding creator program’.
It is interesting to see the descriptions Byte gives to different follower sizes, citing anybody with more than 100,000 followers as ‘going places’:
It’s not clear when other creators will be invited to test the app.
Why is Vine’s founder creating Byte?
Vine was created in 2012 by Hoffman, and bought by Twitter in that same year for a reported $30 million.
Twitter made the decision to shut Vine down four years later, in October 2016, as it looked to cut costs and focus on its live-streaming offerings.
Millennials made up 71% of Vine’s users, with hundreds of millions of active users and more than a billion video loops every day, according to these stats. Given its loyal fan-base, many were unhappy with the decision to close the app.
Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov even tweeted shortly afterwards to say ‘don’t sell your company!’.
Short-form video app TikTok continues to gather pace and build a large audience. According to this CNBC video feature, TikTok reports more than 500 million active monthly users.
Hoffman has spotted the opportunity to reconnect with ex-Vine users and the younger demographic that short-form video apps tend to appeal to, in light of the continued success of TikTok.
Hoffman told TechCrunch that he’s “a big fan of TikTok, and sees it as one evolutionary step past Vine, but not in the same direction as his new app”, and said that Byte “can’t win with the exact same playbook Vine did when it faced an open field, and it must bring something unique”.
What we know about Byte courtesy of the ‘v2’ Forum
Another link from the Byte homepage takes visitors to community.v2.co.
The forum is an active series of discussions, ranging from conversations specifically about the app itself to broader ‘off topic’ issues and thoughts.
Posted as a ‘sticky’ to each forum page is the following note, highlighting that an app called ‘v2’ is an impersonation.
It highlights official channels as:
- byte.co — The official byte website
- v2.co — The forum
- @byte_app — Official Twitter account for the app
- @byte_app — Official Instagram account for the app
And makes it clear that there is no official merchandise, no official chat, no other official sites, other social media accounts, beta offers, or apps.
‘Byte for Dummies’ – what features will Byte have?
In this thread posted in May 2019 entitled ‘Byte for Dummies‘, the following information is shared by ‘expert’-level forum users and is the best information we have to date about the app:
- The app is called byte – “and not the name that must be unspoken (v*ne 2)”
- Videos will be between 2 and 6.5 seconds
- There will be monetization
- Dark mode is default
- Loop/follower counts can be made private
- No live streams
- Multiple accounts will be allowed
- Usernames are limited to 20 characters
- Teams will allow users to collaborate on one page
- You can upload from your camera roll (meaning you can edit videos using various video editors before uploading)
- Full screen videos and square
- Gender pronouns as top level profile feature
- Preloaded thumbnails on videos
- Camera flipping while recording
- No current release date
- No current reservations for usernames
- Camera zoom will be a feature
- Slow-mo will be a feature
- Hands free mode will be a feature
- Reposts will be called boosts
- The app icon will be customisable
- There will be an offline mode
- There will not be duets
- ‘Ghost mode’ will be a feature
- Pinch to zoom as well as slide to zoom
- Assisted scrolling will be a feature
- There will be an undo button
- There will not be filters
- Uncredited/stolen videos can be reported
- Usernames can only have A-Z, 0-9, periods, underscores and tildes. No spaces.
- Beta will at some point have friend invites
- Seasonal features will exist, so far we know of ‘blasts’
Things to know about Byte’s beta testing
- Tests run for 48 hours and are then closed.
- Videos do not currently carry over between tests
- Usernames do not carry over
- Once you have the beta you’re invited to all future tests
- Testers can’t talk about what they see on the app
- Beta signups were in October and December 2018
- Signing up to the creator program does not give you access to the beta
- 120 people were invited to test 1
- The number of users doubles each test
- Invites are sent via email
- Asking for invites will not work
- Tests are not scheduled, they are released when previous bugs are fixed
- There are currently no profiles on beta
- Dom’s friends and family are in a separate environment of beta
- Beta selection is random from the signup threads
- Wave 2 signups will be included in test 3
- Beta is on Android and iOS
- Testflight is used to download beta on iOS
This blog will be updated as and when new information about Byte is released!