Everything you need to know about screen-sharing app Squad
Sharing your screen isn’t just for work.
As Squad app worked out, digital streaming parties are growing in popularity. You just need to get your friends on a video call, share your screen, and all watch the same thing.
The social screen-sharing app launched its beta app in 2018 as a way of sharing social videos, but by its full launch in Spring 2019 the app was as much about being the place for streaming parties.
That’s where you and your friends watch the same show on a video call with your friends.
Squad is a social networking app that allows you to share your screen with family and friends as part of a video call.
The founders of Squad built the app to bring people together and reduce loneliness by building deeper connections and more empathy between people.
Squad is a free app that offers unlimited text, video, and screen sharing for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch. Squad also recently became available for Android!
Squad is available on Apple and Android devices and lets you watch things with your friends.
Since the company’s soft launch in 2019, they’ve focused on the ability to have a watch party around your favorite show.
Whether it’s on Netflix, Disney +, or Hulu, Squad supports watching the same thing from different devices.
That helps improve the communal experience of watching great shows and enjoy social media marketing posts with people you care about…
Squad is super simple to use.
Once you’ve downloaded Squad from the iTunes or Google Play store and opened the app,
When you’ve signed up, all you need to do is activate three different parts of your app.
- Allow notifications
- Allow Squad to access your contacts
- Allow Squad to access your camera and microphone
Then when you’ve got all of this set up, you’ll be looking at your own face!
You’ll see a selection of icons so that you can mute your mic, switch off your camera, and flip your front or back camera.
Selecting the central ‘record’ icon will allow you to make a screen recording or start a broadcast.
You can invite your contacts to join the broadcast and chat with them using video and/or sound and choose to share your screen by selecting an app to view together (such as Instagram).
If you swipe right, you’ll be brought to Squad’s instant messaging area.
You don’t need to add your contacts. Squad uses your mobile contacts and allows you to invite others to join the app so you can start communicating via Squad.
They’ll get a message to their phone with an invite to join - and that’s it.
So it’s kinda like Whatsapp, and then some.
When you get into the Squad’s web app it’s really obvious what to do.
There are four different options for you to choose from.
- You can screen share
- You can watch TikTok
- You can watch Youtube
- You can watch a movie that’s pre-loaded on the platform - for free.
Admittedly, the movies they have on offer aren’t that good. But I didn’t expect to see any movies there at all, so I guess it’s better than nothing!
Although it’s good to be able to browse movies, trending youtube videos, and TikTok videos, the real draw of the app is still being able to screen share.
We can’t imagine it will take off as a media hub, just because everything else on offer on other platforms is so good.
Realistically, you’ll want to fire up Netflix, Amazon Prime, or whichever streaming service you usually use, then share your screen after.
It’s really easy to call with the Squad app.
Then you just need to add people to the call. If you’ve got someone’s phone number, you’ll be able to add them to the call.
They’ll get an invite via SMS to join the call. Then they just need to sign up and they can join the call.
There’s also the option to message. But if you’ve got their number, chances are they’re on Whatsapp, so you could just drop them a message there.
How to share your screen for a video call once that’s done?
When your friend is live on the chat, hit the share screen button and your face will be replaced with a view of your full screen.
You’re sharing your screen! Time to settle into whatever TV show you’re watching or whichever social media platforms you enjoy most.
Squad is for you and your friends. Although it’s most popular with teenagers, it’s a closed community for you and your friends, so it doesn’t really matter how old you are.
Since Squad launched early last year, it’s changed its positioning slightly to be an app where you can watch videos on a shared group call.
You can watch Youtube videos, TikTok videos, Netflix shows, Hulu shows or Disney plus shows.
As long as you’ve got the account, it’s all there.
Squad app focuses on performance too, so it gives you bufferless streaming.
But what’s the underlying reason for developing the app?
On Squad’s App Store listing, there’s a quote that gives us a bit of background.
“The idea for the app came from a 14-year-old girl named Emma who wanted a better way to chill with her best friend when they weren't together in person. She wanted to be able to see each other while watching videos, playing games, reading text messages, looking at photos and listening to music together.”
People are spending more and more time on social media, and less time face-to-face.
In the spirit of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’, Squad offers a way for people to connect on social media.
For CEO Esther Crawford, creating Squad was a solution to a problem she’d experienced throughout her childhood and adolescence; loneliness.
After finding comfort online via chat rooms, blogging, and instant messaging, she became well versed in the glory of social media platforms for bringing people together.
Esther took this to the next level, bridging the distance between her friends while she was online or watching in a film.
So overall Squad is a fun way to stay connected with the people you care about.
Squad app is available on Android and iPhone stores, so you can download it there.
Alternatively, you can go to Squad’s website and not download the app at all.
That’s right, you can use Squad right from your browser. That means you can use the Squad app with your PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
For us, that’s what gives Squad the upper hand against competitors like Zoom and Houseparty. There is absolutely no sign-up process.You can just go to the website and click ‘Start a Room’.
We know it’s not difficult to sign up for a service, but when five of your friends are trying to sign up at the same time it can sometimes take a while to get going.
And when you want to tune into whatever your latest Netflix binge-show is, that can be a stumbling block.
After a period of beta, Squad is now available for Android, and for the web.
Founder Esther Crawford published the launch on Product Hunt while we were all in lockdown. Which, in hindsight, was the perfect time to launch!
Check out the Product Hunt launch for their web release
Squad is available for iPhone. You can download the app for iPhone here.
Squad is a unique app because it was built specifically for screen sharing.
But there are many other apps that allow you to screen share. They just don’t necessarily prioritize that feature.
Here are some of Squad app’s closest competitors.
Zoom is the social sharing app that really took off during the Covid-19 crisis. That’s when people stopped saying let’s Skype, and started saying let’s Zoom.
But if you’re anything like me, then you don’t want to spend your free time on Zoom. That’s where I spend hours of time talking about work.
Zoom fatigue is very real, and for many people, it’s very much a platform for work.
So that’s why I always try to duck out of Zoom calls, even if they are for fun.
Houseparty is another lockdown favorite.
It’s better than Zoom because there are no work-related connotations. And like Squad app and Zoom, there’s the option to screen share.
So for all extents and purposes, Houseparty is a very viable alternative to Squad app.
But Squad App has more of a sense of occasion.
You all gather round at home and sit down to watch your favorite shows - just from separate screens.
People can drop into your viewing party at any time, and is that really what you want when you’re trying to watch Netflix?
Houseparty is more of a, well, a Houseparty. Whereas Squad app is more like a night in watching films.
It seems that in a world where things are moving online, there’s a real market for creating digital versions of IRL experiences.
Whereby is yet another social video app. It used to be called Appearin, which may ring a bell with some of you.
There is a free version if you just want to have a few friends online. You’ll only need the Pro version if you’re a business user, realistically.
It’s made for business, but to us, it feels very casual to us. A bit like Google Hangouts, it emphasizes ease of use over feeling professional.
You can name a room whatever you like, so it’s easy to remember where your friends meet, and you’re also able to share your screen easily.
So with all this competition, and let’s face it - overlapping features - what makes Squad App different?
The standout reason to use Squad is that it’s a place to have a streaming party with your friends. It’s a dedicated place for that.
I think Squad app could do really well if people have streaming parties enough to make it a habit to use Squad.
If you only have a streaming party every once in a while, it’s easier to use Google Hangouts, Zoom or Houseparty, because you don’t need to think twice about it.
So the real question is not whether Squad is a good app (we’ve tried it and it is), but whether streaming parties are going to take off.
Squad app is great for streaming parties.
For standard group calls, you probably want to default to an app that everyone already has, just because you’re probably going to have similar experience anyway.
The interface is fun, easy to use, and doesn’t overcomplicate things.
What you want to do is never more than a click away, and poor performance will be more a reflection of the quality of your internet speed.
Will Squad app stick around as lockdown ends and people return to watching things together in person?
We think so, but that depends on a growing number of younger audiences using the app at the same time to watch things.
Part of this is a struggle of awareness that the platform might initially have. We imagine that people are more likely to watch stuff individually, while on a call.
There’s nothing particularly special about being able to see someone else’s screen unless you don’t have a Netflix / Amazon / Hulu license, but being able to see your friends’ reactions on the same screen as the action is a pretty fun feature.
We like it - and we hope it does combat loneliness, especially as people are made to stay at home.
Whether that’s because of a global pandemic or because they’ve been grounded by their parents.
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