Messaging app Tango hits 100 million users

Steven Loeb · March 7, 2013 · Short URL:

App gets new design interface, new content, phone editing and iPad optimization

I'm going to sound like an old man when I say that I remember a time when the only way to get in touch with someone was by using your landline phone. (And it was rotary phone at that!) But since we have developed so many ways to connect over the last few years, from texting to video chatting, social networks like Facebook, and start-ups like Rabbit, are scrambling to be the one go-to app for your messaging needs.

Self-described "all-in-one social networking app" Tango is taking a good lead in that race, announcing Thursday that it has reached 100 million users. And to celebrate that milestone, it is releasing a slew of new updates and goodies for the app.

"We wanted to take this opportunity to do something meaninful," co-founder and CTO Eric Setton said in an interview with VatorNews. "We wanted to do a big release that really stood out and thanked our members. After all, its all about them."

With the update Tango now has  new design interface, new content, phone editing, and  iPad optimization.

  • New Design Interface

Tango video calls will now take advantage of using the entire screen and the design will also surface all of the content available on Tango. 

"We are the only ones who marry content and conversation," Setton said. While the previous design put limits on how a user could select between different content, the new design will feature full screen overlays that will make it easier for users to access different content during a message.

  • iPad Optimized

Tango is releasing its first ever app specifically for the iPad, which will take advantage of Apple's retina display.

Users could previously download the iPhone app and run it on the iPad at two-times the size, but that was definitely not the ideal way for iPad users to experience Tango, Setton said.

"The new iPad gives the most pop for the service, and supports a glorious revolution," he said.

  • New Content

Tango is debuting Reversi, its seventh free game for users to play during calls. In addition, there will be new Tango Surprises, or animations that play in calls or texts, for users to send.

Setton told VatorNews that Tango has entered into partnerships with new brands to showcase new characters, including the Pink Panther, Strawberry Shortcake and characters from Sesame Street.

In addition, while users previously were given three animations for free at random, they will now be able to choose 30, or from each pack of animations. The user can then buy the entire pack if they want.

"We wanted to be more generous with our free content," Setton said.

  • Photo-Editing for iPhone Users

Tango has partnered with the Aviary photo-editing app so that Tango iPhone users can now customize photos with filters, text and more.

Sharing pictures was becoming more common on Tango, Setton said, so the company decided to make that process easier by adding in the ability for users to write on pictures, add captions and crop them before sending.

Some of these updates came directly from users, Setton said, especially the iPad app, while others were ideas that the Tango team wanted to try out.

What is Tango?

Founded in September 2009, Mountain View, California-based Tango allows users to text, call, video chat and play games with each other for free. It also allows users to buy animations and avatars to "enrich their communications and messages."

Tango was originally only a video messaging service. It was an instant success, hitting one million downloads in 10 days after launching in October 2010, and immediately becoming the No. 1 social networking app in the iTunes app store. 

In July the app added text message, and now also offers the ability to play games and make phone calls. The app is adding a quarter of a million new users every day, Setton said.

What sets the app apart from other social networks that offer messaging services, like Facebook, is that Tango came at it from the messaging aspect first, since it started with video chat.  Other social networks come at it from a "feed angle," Setton said.

Tango also has no "web legacy to support," as it was always mobile first. "A mobile device is very personal and it is not something that is shared," said Setton, and that fosters more meaningful conversation on the part of Tango users.

The ultimate goal of the company, he said, is to become "the destination for meaningful interaction, and be the most important place to connect with people that matter the most."

Tango has raised over $87 million, including $42 million in Series B funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and venture capital vehicle led by Len Blavatnik and Alex Zubillaga in July 2011, and $42 million in Series C funding from members of Setton's family, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Michael Birch, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Bill Hambrecht. The round also included new investors Qualcomm and Access Industries. 

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Founded in September 2009, Tango is a free mobile video calling service that connects family and friends wherever they are. Tango offers high-quality video calling for iOS and Android devices and works over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. More than 10 million people in 190 countries are using Tango to communicate every day, stay connected, and share special moments as they happen. Download the Tango application for free in the App Store and Android Market. Tango is based in Palo Alto, California.