It couldn’t be easier to stay in contact with friends these days. From WhatsApp to Facebook messenger and a dozen in between, messaging apps are all the rage, and many more are trying to find ways to leverage their power for their own purposes.
Since ‘lol’ became passé years ago – when was the last time you actually laughed out loud after typing ‘lol’ – a group of developers has come up with another way to show your friends you’re laughing: by actually sending them laughter in an app appropriately named Haha.
The group at Tapmint, an Australian software development and consulting company producing a variety of consumer and business products, came up with the idea during a company hackathon of sorts last year. The Sydney and Melbourne teams came together to think of something fun to work on.
As Tapmint’s Matthew Ho explains it, Haha is “a fun and simple app to send and receive laughs. You can send infectious laughter to your friends and show that you’re thinking about them.”
The app works by linking up with Facebook to find your friends. You can then preview a laugh and then send it to a friend. Ho says other social networks may be integrated in future updates.
The app also has a laugh recording feature. Users can record their own laughs and send them in to the developers, who will then decide which of these laughs to include in the laugh library for download.
Ho says the team will be looking to monetise the app through in-app purchases of new laughs, such as those sent in by users.
The laugh recording feature doesn’t allow for users to send laughs they have recorded directly to other users, which Ho says is because the team wants to ensure the quality of the laughs so they can curate the gallery. They also want to be sure that only laughs were sent.
This is an interesting point – having played around with the app, I think it could actually do with having some more natural, or human, laughs available, and it would certainly be cool to be able to hear a friend’s actual laugh, but not allowing recorded laughs to be instantly sent means that the app won’t be used for things like cyber bullying, so people won’t receive rude words or sounds when they are expecting laughs.
Since coming up with the idea for Haha last year, the Tapmint team has been working on it in conjunction with apps for business, including one for agile software development, which will enable teams to facilitate retrospective meetings that are held following the completion of a cycle of work.
“Our primary business in consulting so that we can bring in revenue and then have the freedom to work on our own stuff and do cool things like the app,” Ho says.
The Haha app will be released early next week. Following the success of other apps in the nanosocial space like Yo and its Australian counterpart Oi, Haha could certainly make a splash, particularly in the early days when it’s a novelty. However, it also has the potential to get very annoying very fast if you have that one friend who overuses it (and we all have that friend).
Tweens and teens will probably love it, but it will be interesting to see whether users stick to Haha once the novelty of it wears off, and how exactly Tapmint will keep the app fresh to convince users to stay on board and keep laughing.