Dom Hofmann, co-founder of Vine, finally launched the long-awaited byte on Friday. The app, available on iOS and Android, looks great, feels good, and even brings back Vine’s “ghost” feature. Despite a positive first impression, byte is pretty bare bones at the moment. Vine diehards will definitely flock to the app, but in the effect-laden landscape of TikTok, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat, can byte play catch-up?
byte is vibing —The thoughtful design ensures every page of the app is always in motion. After you’re forced to signup through Apple or Google, you’re transported to a vertical video home page. The Search/Explore page features animated sections and before you post anything, your Activity and Profile page feature a GIF of an old-school TV playing static. All these little touches make the app feel very much alive.
What can you do? — Sticking to Vine parameters, videos can only be 6 seconds long, which allows for faster video consumption than its competitors. There are noticeably no effects or filters currently available, but creators can use the Ghost feature to create stop-motion videos.
You’re also free to upload videos, so there’s nothing stopping users from using filters from other apps to create a desired effect. Snapchat Lenses have been used outside of the app for years and Instagram filters have slowly caught up in terms of quality. For now, byte seems content with simplicity, but whether it can challenge the sheer market power of TikTok remains to be seen.
Road work ahead — byte has also announced they will be launching a "pilot version of our partner program which we will use to pay creators," a big differentiator between both Vine's previous dynamic with top users, some of whom eventually moved to YouTube to get paid, and TikTok, who hasn't yet broached the topic. We'll have to wait a see how effective that strategy ends up being.