Here Comes Cabana: A New App From Tumblr
Tumblr is introducing a brand new mobile app called Cabana, which gives its users the ability to facilitate a video chat with their friends and even view videos together in real time. As a product bearing the Tumblr brand name, the app is expected to appeal most to the same demographic (i.e. teenagers and young adults) that frequently make full use of Tumblr’s blogging service. But just to be clear, the Cabana app is not meant to offer interoperability with other Tumblr products or exploit the existing connections between fellow account holders of Tumblr.
Cabana’s history is quite tinged with serendipity -- earlier this year, David Karp (the founder and chief executive of Tumblr) had met Jason Lee (the director of product management at Polyvore Labs) during a Yahoo leadership offsite. For those not familiar with Polyvore Labs, it is an internal incubator at Yahoo, which happens to be the owner of the Tumblr brand and the Polyvore fashion site brand. The team that runs Polyvore Labs consist of top engineers, designers, and product managers. To date, Polyvore Labs has developed other products that are more into social and lifestyle leanings, but it has never done a public launch before, well except for Cabana.
After witnessing Lee do a demo of Cabana, Karp was inspired to take the app and have it serve as a means for people (not necessarily Tumblr users) to be able to share among their friends the latest viral video they stumbled upon while surfing the vast world wide web. The idea is certainly true to Tumblr’s brand -- after all, it is basically what the blogging service is doing right now, create a venue where people can discover content (sometimes GIF driven content) and share it with their friends
But there is a difference between the Tumblr blogging service and Cabana -- the people that share content on Tumblr are mostly folks that have a common interest, such as comic books, TV series, superhero movies. Cabana is designed to let people share content with their friends in real life, as opposed to their online or fandom friends.
With the launch of Cabana, Tumblr now joins other companies that also provide a group video watching experience. For example, there is Let’s Watch It!, which is a mobile app that consumers can use to watch YouTube or Twitch videos with their friends. Even YouTube is exploring the concept with its Uptime. And then there is Gaze, MyCircleTV, ShareTube, Togethr TV, Rabbit, Rave, and Houseparty, among many others.