Houseparty: Changing the Way Students Video Chat

By Nora Holland, Contest Manager

Have you ever sat in your room on a Saturday night because you didn’t have a way of going out, but wished there was a way you could still hang out with your friends?

Introducing Houseparty, a new app created by the company Life on Air that lets people group video chats with up to eight people. Users can jump from group to group and talk to their friends or join random groups and meet their friends’ friends.

“I like that it’s a simple and easy way to talk to multiple people,” sophomore Dhilan Shah said.

Houseparty can seem confusing at first, but once users get the hang of it, the app is simple and easy to navigate. Users can find their friends on the app by allowing the app access to their contacts or by simply searching for names.

To reach out to someone to chat, users can send a “wave,” which notifies the other person someone wants them to join a chat. Users can also lock the “room” if they do not want anyone else joining.

According to a Dec. 2016 Wall Street Journal article, Houseparty climbed the charts for popular apps, received many high ratings, including top social networking iPhone app, and was ranked number seven among the best free apps for the iPhone.

There are some similar apps to Houseparty. Facetime allows people to video chat with one other person and is preinstalled on the iPhone, while Oovoo is an app available on the app store that allows people to friend each other and video chat up to three other people.

“I prefer Houseparty over Oovoo but I use Facetime a lot more,” sophomore Emily Hnath said. “Everyone has Facetime while not everyone has Houseparty.”

Houseparty has unique factors that sets it apart from Facetime and Oovoo. Based on who the user is friends with on the app, Houseparty presents a list of people the user may know and want to friend. Users can allow the app to send notifications to the user’s friends when the user logs onto the app so others can log on and a chat room can be initiated.

“[Houseparty] is different from Facetime because you can chat with many people at once instead of just one person,” junior Talia Weaver said. “It also sends a notification each time someone gets on the app.”

There are safety precautions to prevent anyone’s privacy from being invaded. Strangers can only join a user’s chat if they are friends with one of the people in the chat, so users who meet on Houseparty will at least share a mutual friend. the app does not track or share a user’s location, and the app has a privacy policy that ensures users are safe and protected.

According to junior Jenna Prosen, she uses Houseparty because it allows eight people to video chat and “people can join in whenever they want.”

Houseparty can be used by students to make new friends and talk to people they may have seen at school but never had a conversation with. It can also be used for study groups since it can allow many people to video chat at once, discuss study question and quiz each other.

“My friends started using Houseparty, and then they suggested I get it,” Weaver said.