Twitter buys screen sharing, video chat startup app Squad

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The American microblogging and social networking service Twitter has acquired US-based Squad, an app that allows you to hang out with your friends through video chat and screen-sharing.

Squad will help Twitter “bring new ways for people to interact, express themselves, and join in the public conversation,” Twitter’s VP of product, Ilya Brown, said in a tweet. The Squad team brings “a deep understanding of how people participate in interactive audio and video conversations” and will “accelerate our work to bring people new and creative tools to start and join conversations on the service,” Mr. Brown added in follow-up tweets.

The Squad team will join Twitter’s ranks. The co-founders of Squad, CEO Esther Crawford and CTO Ethan Sutin, and the rest of the team, Twitter said, will come on board within the design, engineering and product divisions of Twitter. Specifically, Ms. Crawford states that she would lead a product in the conversations space.

What isn’t coming aboard is the actual Squad app, which allowed users to share their screens on mobile or desktop and simultaneously video chat, a feature that aimed to fulfill the informal use of screen-sharing beyond the professional use case of presenting.

Beyond tweets

Twitter has been exploring ways for people to connect beyond the standard tweet, as evidenced by the recent global launch of its ephemeral “Fleets” and the announcement of chat rooms coming to the service. It’s not hard to imagine Twitter potentially building virtual hangout spaces, like Squad offered, into the platform.

Squad was launched in 2019 but had immediately become a teenage sensation thanks to its features. The app witnessed a surge in popularity at the start of the pandemic when usage increased by 1,100 percent. As part of the acquisition deal Squad will shut down on 12th December.