Books, movies, and series are common ways to widely share a story, but it's far more common to tell personal adventures orally or over text messages. However, Viber came up with a new feature that mixes things up, letting you read short stories on your phone, which take the shape of fictitious text messages.

If you've run out of people to talk to, Viber's got you covered: With Shorts, you get access to a catalog of over 50 original stories that are revealed line by line. It's basically as if you're part of a chat and reading the conversation people are having to learn more about the plot. You can't reply to the group and instead tap on the screen to make messages appear as you read the story. A bar at the bottom of the screen lets you see how far you've progressed into the scenario, which is convenient to assess whether you have enough time to finish the story now or resume later.

The functionality is available starting today for US users and includes a catalog of comedies, romance, thrillers, and sci-fi, stories that can be explored in parallel. I'm not particularly convinced about its usefulness, but it could be a fun way to entertain yourself when you're really bored.

Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO — September, 2019 — Rakuten Viber, one of the world’s leading messaging platforms, announces today the launch of its new feature, Shorts by Viber. Shorts will feature over 50 original, free stories told entirely through text messages that are revealed one line at a time.

From the evolution of the once-crisp paperback to audio books, everyone loves a good story. And in a world that seems to get busier and busier, having bite-sized stories available on mobile lets the reader escape any situation. Users can start as many Shorts as they like and explore love stories, comedies, thrillers, sci-fi, and more. Shorts are an escape for story lovers on the go, whether on the ride home, hitting mile three on a stationary bike, or waiting for kickboxing class to start. It’s free and always there to help our readers take a Short break.

At launch, Shorts by Viber will support Viber Originals, which are a one-of-a-kind original stories from our team of writers, and licensed partner content, including stories from one of the largest eBooks retailers in the world, Rakuten Kobo, and their self-publishing platform KWL (Kobo Writing Life).

Shorts are available for U.S. Viber users on IOS and Android through the Viber app.

“We are excited to introduce readers to a new form of storytelling. Shorts by Viber will offer an entirely new perspective to on-the-go readers to consume content at their optimal convenience,” says Rakuten Viber Sr. Director of Growth, Nadav Melnick. “This will captivate audiences and immerse them in Shorts pertaining to horror, thriller, humor, romance, among others. It’s the next step in enhancing our users’ messaging experience.”