Video chatting with friends across the country can be a great way to stay connected, but rarely does it replicate the intimacy of a real-life conversation.
A new app called Spin is looking to change that, providing what it calls “real-time together experiences” for groups of people on the platform.
“We designed Spin’s technology platform from the ground up to amplify how people naturally act and engage when they’re deeply connected and together” said Tara Lemmey, CEO and co-founder of Net Power & Light, the company behind the app.
More than just a video-chatting app, Spin lets you share Facebook and Flickr photos or YouTube videos with up to nine other people; that functionality can be used for activities, such as showing the entire family pictures from your last vacation, or playing video of a YouTube fire in the background while you’re having virtual coffee with a friend.
Everything is done as a shared experience in which what you see on your screen is the exact same thing your friend is seeing on theirs.
“It’s designed for what we call human fidelity,” Lemmey told Mashable while demoing the app. “When you laugh, you laugh at the same moment — it’s not funny if the joke doesn’t come at the same time, or if you’re missing the play [in sports], or missing the moment. We are really focused on that.”
You can invite friends to chat in advance at a particular time, or you can simply reach out to a friend when you feel like chatting within the app. Unlike other video-chatting apps such as Skype, Spin represents each member of the conversation as a small square on the screen that can be dragged and dropped wherever you like on the page, and can be made larger or smaller as needed.
Virtual tomatoes and paper airplanes are available to throw at your friends while you chat, adding a bit more fun to the experience. You can also make a heart appear on the screen over something you particularly enjoy, draw on your friends’ photos and give them a virtual standing ovation.
The whole experience can take place on your iPhone, or can be broadcast to your Apple TV for a big-screen experience. Lemmey said that her team routinely uses the app on an Apple TV for group meetings that are virtually attended via iPhone and iPad by people around the world.
The initial release of Spin is available now for free from the App Store. In the future, the company plans to add additional features, such as recording to the app through in-app purchasing.
What do you think of Spin? Tell us in the comments, below.