Yahoo is getting back into the chat software game with an invite-only chat app and service called Squirrel, which is now available for download on Google Play. Unlike other apps in the category, this one may be describable as trying to create a unique experience that leans more to a traditional chatroom experience than competing services. That experience, meanwhile, is completely controlled by the users instead of admins and brings several interesting features to the table. Before anybody rushes to download the app, however, it's worth pointing out that invites aren't obtained from within the application. Instead, users will need to find another way to pick one up such as from a current user of the app or by requesting one at the official site – via the source link or button below. That's similar to how Google first launched Inbox in 2015, so it's not unusual and shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. But it is something to be aware of before downloading and beginning the sign-up process.
With regard to Squirrel itself, Yahoo has centered development around group chatting that is organized with a degree of separation for specific sub-groups or one-on-one conversation. That's primarily accomplished via the creation of larger group chats called Rooms which serve as the main portal for a conversation with a more general group and can be organized by people or topic. However, there are also Secret Rooms which hearken back to the private chats once common in web-based chat services. Those serve as a place for more individual communication or even one-on-one chatting and are private so that only those in the room can take part or see what's going on. Beyond that, the chat has an Activity View which takes the concept of notifications from services like Twitter and ensures everybody knows when they've teen mentioned. Tied in with that are Blasts, which serve as a way to send out important messages to everyone in a group to ensure they see it in their Activity View. Furthermore, users are able to create their own custom "reactions" which are effectively self-made memes featuring the users in question. Those can be accessed later for one-tap visual responses to whatever's going on in the chat.
Meanwhile, chats can also be used to share attachments that extend beyond just photos and videos. Links and documents can also be shared within their own section to ensure they can be found easily later on. Chats can, of course, be muted as well if they need to be. Of course, as previously mentioned, this is an invite only release for now. That means prospective users will need to find somebody who is already using Squirrel if they want to use it themselves. Needless to say, despite being clearly advertised as such, that's been the source of plenty of negativity for the app. Setting that aside though, Squirrel definitely seems like a step up from the company's previous – and long – history with chat software. It does require Android 5.1 or newer but Squirrel is also completely free. So it's probably definitely worth a look for anybody that can find a code or who's lucky enough to get one from Yahoo to finish the signup process.