Why would anyone ever need to send a video message with Skype Qik?
I don't think I'm supposed to feel old at 22. There's some rule about saving that sentiment for later years, when various body parts start to fail and doctors have to probe places I'd rather they wouldn't. But when I consider applications like Skype Qik, a short-video messaging service for mobile devices, I can't help but think of them the same way baby boomers think of Snapchat.
Qik is supposed to help Skype survive the shift to mobile devices. The app allows its users to share short videos with their friends who can respond to them in kind, creating a video chat filmed in staccato instead of being shot all at once. It's supposed to be more convenient than Skype's main service, I guess, and convince people that it can compete in mobile messaging.
The Verge describes Skype's thinking behind Qik in its (positive) report on the application:
'We’re responding to the big trends in the industry,' explains Piero Sierra, Skype’s director of mobile. Those trends include mobile, an explosion of communications, and a shift to asynchronous conversations. People aren’t waiting to have video calls at a specific time or messaging each other and waiting hours for a reply: it’s all instant and real-time in 2014. 'We wanted to make sure we had something in between those scheduled Skype calls that is light, fun, easy to use, and fast. That’s why the name Qik resonated with us.'Glide chief executive Ari Roisman said something similar when I interviewed him for a story about his company's video messaging app last July. The idea is that people want to be able to control when their conversations take place; that's easy with text messages, but harder with video chats, which have been constrained by their need to have all participants chatting at once.
But I cannot for the life of me think of a time when I would rather film a short video message than just send a text or -- and this is really reaching here -- call the person with my iPhone. Is there really anything that can be sent via video messages that can't be faster communicated by another medium? Do people really want or need to see my face when I call to talk for a minute?
It's not like people can't send videos through the default messaging applications that ship with every modern smartphone. They can also share them through Facebook Messenger or Snapchat or countless other services that aren't predicated on the idea that people want to video message their friends but don't have the time for a real, honest-to-goodness Skype call while they're out.
Then again, I also don't use Siri to check the time, like many teenagers do according to a Google-sponsored study meant to determine how teens and adults use voice tools. Maybe I'm just too old to think that, in the hierarchy of communication tools, video messaging could ever be above text messages, phone calls, emails, bonfires, and diseased carrier pigeons.
So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go out and buy a cane so I can be prepared to yell at the kids on my lawn when I turn 23.