You no longer need an invite to try Google's YouTube parties app.
Gogole's startup incubator, Area 120, allows employees to work on approved projects during their "20 per cent time". The latest project from that incubator is Uptime, a mobile app that lets you meet up with people, share YouTube videos with them, engage using stickers, and more. It is described as a "place to share and watch videos together with friends... watch, chat, and have fun".
Google first made the app accessible to select people in the US with an iOS device (there's still no Android version). The app has been updated a few times since then to include a new home screen that helps you discover videos, music video support, and a way to find friends through Facebook. But you still needed an invitation to try the service. Now, however, Google is giving a formal launch.
Now anyone can search for videos using the app. It'll let you find friends with common connections. You can also engage with friends while watching videos through comments, stickers, "sparkles", hearts - and all your activity is accessible from the profile page. Uptime basically makes the experience of watching YouTube a more group-centric thing, even for people not in the same room.
It is still only available on iOS, and not Android, at least at launch. Also, Uptime does not allow you to watch and share paid and premium content, such as movies and YouTube Red. You can learn more about how the app works from its FAQ page.
We could see Google testing the waters with this app before integrating the core features into the actual YouTube experience. Otherwise, we'd personally think it would be cool if the app considered adding the ability to record or stream your own videos.