Smartphones Help a New Generation Hang Out Online

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Move over mall! New smartphone apps let people to hang out online with multiple friends at once. Unlike FaceTime, there is no set agenda.

Some are calling the trend "live chilling." New group video chat apps let you virtually hang out with friends. There is no set agenda and you can watch videos, listen to music and more - all from your phone.

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"Facebook and Instagram have created a huge loneliness problem in the world - we’re trying to solve that by bringing people closer together," explains Daniel Klaus, CEO of Airtime, a group hangout app.

I caught up with Klaus at The Montgomery Summit, which was recently held in Santa Monica, California.

It brings together entrepreneurs, investors and more to discover what’s next in tech.

A bunch of human communication is about looking at people and seeing their reaction so we can actually share this moment together," says Klaus. "Your best friend can be in New York and you can be in Colorado and you can be watching a television show together."

Airtime lets you create private rooms with groups of friends. A notification tells you when one or all of them are around. Inside, you can watch YouTube videos, listen to songs and more … sharing the experience and reactions in real time.

Unlike FaceTime, participants don’t necessarily have something specific to talk about. Unlike Facebook Live or Periscope, there’s no feeling like you have to entertain a group of viewers.

The trend is more apparent among the younger generation. A Wall Street Journal article on the trend says live chilling is replacing hanging out in person for Generation Z.

Remember the short-lived video chat app Meerkat? It's creators are on to the new trend with a group video chat app called Houseparty. It also lets you "live chill" with friends, and over 1 million users are doing it every day.

Even Google is on to it! The company recently released an experimental app called Uptime that lets friends watch YouTube videos together, comment and react in real time.

"What we’re seeing is these fundamental trends from social shifting away from liking and commenting and posting to be much more about really being with your friends and real-time interactions," concluded Klaus.

Airtime was developed by the same people behind another cultural revolution in the 90’s - Napster. Time will tell if live chilling will be as big.

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