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Yahoo debuts Livetext silent video messaging app

As expected, Yahoo on Wednesday officially announced a new messaging service called Livetext that features live two-way video chats for mobile device users, but with a twist.

Marketed as "live video texting without sound," Livetext is a bit like FaceTime, but instead of talking to each other as they would in a face-to-face conversation, users communicate through facial expressions and typed text.

Yahoo in a press release said the immediacy and spontaneity Livetext affords brings the service closer to real life conversations. A silent live video app addresses problems with both text and voice communications, Yahoo claims. For example, users often misinterpret texts or take hours to respond, while telephone conversations require a relatively quiet environment.

"We see video as a way to make your conversations more authentic, and we see text as a way to connect that's quick and non-intrusive," said Arjun Sethi, senior director of product management at Yahoo.

It seems Yahoo is positioning Livetext as more of an augmentation to texting, not a stripped down video chat client. It remains to be seen whether or not customers agree in light of other mobile-centric video messaging solutions like Apple's own FaceTime.

Livetext has been under in testing in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Ireland, and is slated to go live in Canada, France, Germany, UK and the U.S. on Thursday. The iOS app comes in at 26MB and will be available for free from the App Store.