This is Camoji, a free app launching today, that allows you record a quick GIF using your iPhone’s camera and send it along via iMessage. Camoji is the brainchild of Austin Broyles and Jisi Guo, who were responsible for launching the self-destructing messaging app Leo.
To use Camoji, simply hold down to record an image, add any text or emojis, and select the option to text it along. Any moving parts in your GIF automatically start as soon as it’s received on the other end.
Camoji places much of its emphasis on being lightweight. It is largely gesture-based, with an attractive and slick UI that makes sending a GIF as simple as three or four taps and swipes.
Sometimes, though, it felt almost too lightweight. On a few occasions, I had to swipe around to remember what gesture did what. (Swiping right means “delete,” by the way.)
While it’s not the first app that makes it easy to text your friends animated GIFs (Ultratext, for example, also performs this function), Camoji feels polished and promising. The end result is something like Snapchat–just without the self-destructing part, and on a platform that everyone already uses.
“iMessage is already a great distribution channel,” says Broyles, a former engineer at Square, when asked why the company decided to focus on text messaging. “Everyone is already on it. With the images animating inline, it just creates a ‘wow’ magical experience.”
I’ve been testing Camoji for a few days, and the images I sent to friends tended to not create a wow-magical experience. In fact, most of them underwhelmed, probably because the majority of the GIFs I sent were dumb selfies. I felt keenly aware that perhaps I am not the intended demographic.
But who knows! Like Vine, perhaps Camoji will unleash the inner creative talents of its users. And then, of course, they can show their friends.
Give it a try over here.