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This is Meerkat's new video app: Houseparty

The company took a stealth approach this time to promoting its app.

 Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin
Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin
Kurt Wagner / Re/code

Meerkat is back to try this video startup thing a second time.

Meerkat, the former SXSW darling that abandoned its once-hyped livestreaming app earlier this year, has another app on the market: Houseparty, a video messaging app akin to FaceTime or Skype but with a number of little twists.

The app isn't brand new — it's been in the App Store since February — but there is no indication it is owned and operated by Meerkat. We heard about it from a tipster and confirmed with a few other sources. Meerkat declined to comment on the app at all, but it's definitely theirs.

The app works like this: As soon as you open it, you're available to video chat. Your friends can jump in to chat with you, and you can jump in to chat with them. If they're already in a chat, you can see who they're talking to and join that, too. When you're using Houseparty, the idea is that you're willing to video chat with whichever one of your friends says hello.

That aligns with what Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin told Recode back in March when he explained why he was abandoning the video livestream. (Facebook and Twitter as competitors didn't help.)

A source close to the company says Houseparty is already bigger than Meerkat ever was. Which is somewhat ironic given Meerkat's very public launch timed around SXSW in 2014 and Houseparty's under-the-radar approach. (The app appears to be very similar to Sean Parker's new Airtime, which also debuted this year.)

We don't know much more than this since the company won't talk. But we know Meerkat's next move — and the "mystery" company responsible for Houseparty.

Meerkating with Meerkat's Ben Rubin Last Year

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