A few days ago I played poker with some friends on an app called Pokerface. This is what it looked like:


Like many people, I have started using video chat throughout the day - much more so than before - for work and to connect with people during these strange times. I’ve started see video chat becoming a more prevalant feature in many different types of apps, and it reminded me of direct messaging a few years ago.

In 2013 LukeW wrote a variation of the Law of Software Envelopment:

Every mobile app attempts to expand until it includes chat. Those applications which do not are replaced by ones which can.

Benedict Evans made this famous in 2015 in a blog post about the state of messaging. At this time, Twitter, Instagram and even the app I worked on - Wattpad - included messaging as a core feature.

The same thing is happening now with video chat, and it’s being accelerated by social distancing.

I predict a new wave of social centric apps built with video as another layer of interaction. Existing apps like online dating and networking will add video - possibly as a layer between messaging and meeting in person. Chat will graduate to video chat (a bit more intimate but equally safe), and that will graduate to an in person meeting.

Other apps will start add a video layer too - on top of content, games, and even utilities. All apps will expand until they include video chat.