Messaging app Viber has expanded into social networking with its new Public Chats feature.
Distinct from its current group chat feature that is strictly private, users can now tune into public conversations between celebrities - models, chefs, bloggers and more.
Talmon Marco (pictured), co-founder and CEO, Viber, said in an interview with TechCrunch that this new feature takes "the Viber experience of chat to the next level", adding that "with public chats, [Viber is now] allowing ordinary users to follow the chats".
Marco further offered an example of inviting models from Next Model Management to partake in the feature. Followers, he explained, will be able to enjoy these public conversations between the models, getting to "live their lives" vicariously be it via reading their messages or viewing any photos that have been posted into the chat. However, the followers will not be able to contribute unless they have been specifically included as a participant, distinguishing the feature from the likes of Twitter.
Currently, the feature is launching with a list of celebrities including popular gossip blogger Perez Hilton, British singer-songwriter Pixie Lott and YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley. However,Viber plans to open up the feature to more users with time, according to Marco.
On whether this feature will be an advertising push, Marco told TechCrunch that it is "just additional content on Viber" and that "there will be no ads in Public Chats".
However, he also mentioned that the content of the chat will be solely up to the participants' discretion, which definitely leaves room for possibilities.
Written by Prasanthi Ram