Did you Bebo? Do you remember? Before Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or even MySpace we all had a Bebo page. It is where the majority of Irish web users cut their social media teeth and posted selfies before selfies were even a thing and Irish people seemed to have a special love for the site with claims of over 1m users on our fair island.
And then it just fell off a cliff. Not before AOL bought it for $850m though.
Well it's back. But not as you know it and although still in Beta I've had a chance to use if for the last 24 hours.
First off - Bebo is no longer a social network. They are now a company that makes social apps - this from Joe Mbu, the man behind the relaunch. So what is it? My description of it is that it's a mashup of Whatsapp, the popular messaging app and Snapchat and the fact that the tweet was favourited by Bebo makes me think they wouldn't entirely disagree with that description.
— Hugh Curran (@hughcurran) December 10, 2014
The premise seems to be that you would use it as a messaging format either to individuals or groups. Obviously this is something that you can do via Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook Messanger and a whole raft of other apps so what does it do differently?
Hashtags. You put a hashtag in and it'll turn it into an image using the avatar that you've created yourself at the beginning. It's actually quite smart and while myself and my small group of friends that I've sent invites too have had some craic with it, you can tell that it's more aimed and the younger market.
I've only had it for 24 hours and I've only got a small group of friends on it but I'm actually enjoying it. Of course it allows you to embed images and draw over them, but it's quite nice and the UX is fairly straightforward.
It's not perfect - but this is a beta so I'd expect them to iron out any issues before full release.
Bottom line though - this is another app that allows people have private group conversations where they can share images and of course the Hashtag illustration functionality which is unique to Bebo. And when you couple this with the information that SMS volume dropped 20% here in the last year it's plain to see that this kind of app is the future of communications.
Watch out for a full release early in 2015. There'll be a few disappointed people but I can see nostalgia taking hold while it gets some traction here. What will be interesting is if can sustain that traction and become a serious contender in the chat environment.