YouTube added a chat feature to its Android and iOS apps Monday, allowing users to message their contacts and share videos with them. “Like chats around the water cooler, shouldn’t sharing a video be as easy as saying, ‘Have you heard this new song,'” wrote YouTube product manager Benoît de Boursetty in a blog post.
The new messaging feature is available via YouTube’s in-app share button, which previously only allowed users to share their videos out to other apps. User can either share a clip with a single contact, or start a group conversation with up to 30 participants — and anyone added to a chat can respond by adding videos of their own.
Share on YouTube, as the feature is officially called, is at the moment only available via mobile, and not through YouTube’s web or TV apps. Shared videos and associated conversations can be found via a new “Shared” tab within the mobile app.
The roll-out of the feature isn’t entirely surprising. YouTube first started to test the new feature in Canada earlier this year. “Thanks to all your feedback, we made some improvements and are now ready to roll out this new sharing feature to all users globally,” de Boursetty said Monday.
YouTube’s new sharing feature may not be a full-on-assault on Snapchat and Instagram. However, it’s clearly meant as a defensive move to make sure that conversations don’t exclusively happen on other platforms, which increasingly have video content of their own.