Google has opened the floodgates for Uptime, an app that lets you watch YouTube videos together with your friends. The app is now freely available to all iOS users, and doesn’t require any invites anymore.
Google first published Uptime in March as an invite-only limited beta test. The app lets users share YouTube videos with their friends, and then watch them together in real-time. Users can chat with each other, and leave comments and emoji layered on top of the video. Anyone watching a replay of a shared video after the fact will get to see those comments timed to the video.
Since its launch in March, Uptime has received a few updates, including the ability to also play and share music videos. Users can now also connect to Facebook to find friends they want to watch videos with.
The Uptime app was built by Area120, an experimental research and development unit launched by Google last year to turn left-field ideas from Google engineers into actual products. In addition to Uptime, Area 120 has also developed an online scheduling tool for small businesses. The idea behind Area120 is to test these kind of ideas, and then possibly turn them into real Google products, or spin them off into separate companies.