Students launch video communication app

Shortwave, a video-based, asynchronous communication tool created by a team involving several Stanford students, launched this Thursday in Apple’s App Store.

Nick Manuosos ’14 and Laura Pospisil ’14 helped develop the app in an effort led by Cornell graduates Sean Chen and Aditya Avadhanula. Avadhanula described Shortwave as a mobile, video version of Reddit.

“What we’re trying to do is capture conversations which happen in a community, which usually happens at the end of a blog or something,” he said. “We’re moving that into video. It’s a really easy way to participate in asynchronous conversation anytime, anywhere.”

Shortwave stitches together video responses from different users into one continuous, playable video. Users have the opportunity to vote up or down on videos, and the most popular videos are moved up within the thread.

The website uses a nautical theme for content recommendation. Voting a clip, or an entire thread, down, is called “sinking” it, while recommending it to other users is “floating” it. Content that is recommended by the community will be displayed on the front page, and users will be able to search for what they are interested in through hashtags.

Avadhanula said that the app could serve as an online talent-sharing hub.

“Video is a more compelling media, in which a high percentage of all communication is non-verbal,” he said. “Body language plays an important part. There is a lot of talent on YouTube who can participate and show off their talent on Shortwave.”

Manousos said that he has personally used the app to communicate with friends who live overseas.

“I have a lot of friends who are international students, and when they were back [home], it was great to talk to them [through the app],” Manousos said. “It was great that we didn’t all have to be online [at the same time].”

Pospisil said that the app would help to facilitate communication among on-campus groups.

“It’s really great for student organizations, sports teams and the like,” she said.

According to Manousos, Shortwave plans to eventually release an app for Android. For now, however, the team is focused on gathering initial user feedback.

“Since we’ve released the app on the market, we have received a lot of positive feedback,” Manousos said. “We’re really excited.”

About Nitish Kulkarni

Nitish is a Deputy Desk Editor at The Stanford Daily. He is a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering, and he is interested in writing about technology and research.