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Introducing Yap, from Postlight Labs

Chat without the chat log, just like real life

It was the year of Miley Cyrus’s tongue. We called the group chat VMAARP. A few friends (Paul Ford included) started up a group chat with no long-term purpose or any semblance of permanence. The goal was to have a place to talk shit as we watched the MTV Video Music Awards That’s the VMA part of VMAARP. The AARP part is a jab at how old the group is relative to pretty much everyone else watching the VMAs. 

The banter in the room made watching the VMAs infinitely more enjoyable. Awards shows, red carpet events, sporting events, an Apple keynote — it’s all wonderful stuff for a small group to orbit around and talk. The chatter is fleeting and fast. 

Except…there’s a log. There shouldn’t be a log, because it’s not a chat room. Who needs a chat log? It’s about the moment. Imagine rolling into a pub during a Liverpool/Man City game and asking the group: “Hey could you guys share what you really enjoyed saying to one another for the past 15 minutes? I’d love to catch up!” 

In this spirit, the fine folks at Postlight Labs built Yap. You’ll find it by visiting https://yap.chat. It’s dead simple:

  1. Create a Yap chat room.
  2. Invite others to join and talk.
  3. Share a URL of just about anything.
  4. Everyone gathering can comment on what you’ve shared.
  5. If you think your conversation deserves an audience, share the URL of your chat publicly.
  6. Only six people can join. Lots of people can observe if you invite them. But just six chatters.

The rub (or killer feature, depending on how you look at it) is this: There is no log. No scrolling. What you just said is all you said. When others jump in to the conversation, they jump in to the last set of comments. Just like in real life. When the conversation is over it’s over, 24 hours of inactivity means the chat room expires.

For real: Enough logs.

With Yap, you can gather round a toasty Yule log and just ramble on:

Or watch that Fortnite stream on Twitch:

Or share that football highlight with some friends: 

You can shop together. Read together. Study together (just try it with lo-fi beats to study to, it’s amazing). Watch pointless image slideshows together. Make jokes together. Talk trash together. It even works for those deeply engrossing Senate hearings! The list goes on and on.

Yap chats are lightweight and easy to share. You can share with anyone in the world and invite only who you want. Just use the link.

Nothing is written to disk. The connection is secure. And even the stuff in memory expires. We put Google Analytics on it to track basic usage, but we don’t care who you are or what you say.

Then what’s the business model? Who gives a shit! We do business models all day. The web can have something that’s just disposable fun. The great thing about Postlight Labs is that we can build fun things that matter and experiment with culture.

Why six people? Because seven is annoying.

Everyone at Postlight gets several weeks a year to work on Labs projects, BTW. It balances out all the other work. You should work here.

So that’s Yap. For all your trash-talking needs. Tell us what you think. We want to hear. Invite us to your Yaps. We built this thing to scale for millions of chats. Yap away.

Rich Ziade is president of Postlight, a full-service digital product studio in New York City dedicated to building great products. Email him at rich.ziade@postlight.com.

Story published on Dec 12, 2019.