Drop everything and download: Byte

The maker of Vine (RIP) brings the looping video app back from the dead

Remember Vine?

Without its six-second video loops the world might never have been introduced to the haunting Duck Army, Limmy’s Frosty Jack’s series, or this shocking revelation about what really powers Tesla’s Model S. When are you going to come clean, Elon Musk?

Vine shut down in early 2017 but its co-creator Dom Hofmann has spent the past couple of years working on a successor.

Byte, which launched on iOS and Android over the weekend, will be hoping to become the go-to place for short, quirky videos. But does it have enough to challenge TikTok, the app that has arguably filled the void left by Vine’s closure?

What is it, then?

It’s pretty much Vine with a different name. Byte lets you shoot six-second videos and post them for others to like or comment on. Rebyting is its version of retweeting, so you can amplify the clips you like most.

Sorting the wheat from the chaff is always the key, so there’s a discovery page that lets you sort by genre (comedy, animation, experimental, etc), show the latest Bytes, or look up a particular user.

You can also see a selection of the most popular posts, although one of the big trends so far seems to be how many spammy comments people are getting on their videos as people try to build up big early followings. The makers have already said it’s something they’re looking into.

Is it any good?

The key thing is that it keeps Vine’s tap-to-record mechanic, which makes filming each shot and constructing your masterpiece simple - that was always Vine’s greatest strength. As long as you shoot sequentially there’s no need to use any separate editing apps, although you can add in clips you’ve already taken from your camera roll if you want to cheat.

It was the creativity that always set Vine apart, with people shooting their own bizarre one-person sketches and surreal skits, and just a quick look through the stuff that’s already been uploaded suggests Byte is going to pick up where Vine left off. That can only be good thing.

Any downsides?

The world of social media has moved on a fair bit since Vine was chopped down, so Byte’s lack of AR filters might put off any hardcore TikTokkers, although it’s working on a way for Byters to make money off the back of their popular posts, which will appeal to wannabe influencers. Every silver lining, eh?

The name’s rubbish as well, isn’t it? Sounds like a TV show about technology aimed at pensioners, or a cryptocurrency for kids that can only be spent in sweet shops. Actually, that one’s not a bad idea...

Where can I get it?

Byte is available for free now on Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store).