Google Area 120’s ThreadIt is bite-size video for team collaborations – TechCrunch

The team at Google’s Area 120 in-house incubator says the idea for ThreadIt came well before COVID-19 made remote work necessary for large swaths of the globe. Of course, the pandemic certainly accelerated interest in the product among the team behind it. “It’s adjusted the lens through which everyone sees it,” Keller Smith, general manager, and founder, ThreadIt, tells TechCrunch. “It was a trend that was growing even before COVID-19, but, of course, the whole world changed overnight.” ThreadIt, which launches today as a browser-accessible service and Chrome plug-in, attempts to address a perceived hole in the market. The system, which allows users to record short video messages, sits between long-form, live-video teleconferencing, and sharp texts and emails.


The steps for getting started are pretty straightforward. You:

  1. Record yourself speaking (you can rerecord if you mess up the first time)
  2. Shoot the video off to selected colleagues.

The app threads together short videos, organizing things chronologically into a single video conversation. The interface borrows key features from other Google offerings. It includes a drop-down that lets you determine how recipients can interact with the video, whether just viewing or adding their clip. The team behind the app notes that it’s been dogfooding ThreadIt, having never met in person. Indeed, the zeitgeist is right. Remote work will remain a reality for many, even after the pandemic has mercifully faded. And, of course, short-form video clips are once again having a moment. TikTok or Vine, for work, perhaps, only with a more straightforward approach to making and watching short, informational videos.

“We found that by adding a little bit of structure and allowing you to break it up and show little pieces of your work, that creates a much shorter message that’s much more on-point,” says Smith. “That was one gap we saw in what was out there today.” The app, available to access starting today, is in a public beta mode, as is Area 120’s custom. Essentially the team will gauge interest and collect feedback to see if the project is worth pursuing. Graduated services include the code education tool Grasshopper and the travel app Touring Bird.

Having dealt with some health issues earlier this year that made speaking difficult, I would love to see a straight text-reply part for those who can’t — or otherwise would prefer not to — appear on camera. That means, among other things, that it is still in the early stages. As such, there are no doubt going to be several desired features that aren’t present. Deeper Google productivity app integration would also make sense, though I suspect part of growing the app is deciding how much of a standalone to make. Additional Gmail integration would be good, but you don’t have to rely on that platform if the new app is designed to augment it. The service can be accessed on smartphones via the mobile Chrome browser, but a standalone app would probably make sense down the road, as well. “That’s something we would look at going forward,” says Smith. “That’s a great example of looking for the interest and response and then being able to go deeper with that.”


I have always enjoyed writing and reading other people's blogs. I started writing a journal as a teenager and have since written numerous books and articles. My blog is a place where I can write freely about my personal interests and those of others.

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