Clubhouse is back, kinda. The app that popularized social audio rooms is reinventing itself “to be more like a messaging app” with new voice-only group chats called “chats,” as detailed in a blog post from the company.
Think of a chat as something like a group Instagram story that you contribute to with your voice. You kick off a chat by recording a voice message, and then you can send that chat around to your friends. They can then hop in and add their own voice recordings to create a kind of voice collage / conversation.
The app has been totally redesigned around these new chats. When I opened up the newly updated app, it prompted me to start a new chat and share it. Chats are also what I’m seeing first in the new home tab in the app, and if I had friends that used Clubhouse, it seems like their chats would show up in the home tab, too.
Clubhouse has seen a massive drop in popularity since the early days of the covid pandemic, especially since the social network formerly known as Twitter launched its own Spaces social audio rooms. Spaces continue to be a key feature of Elon Musk’s X, but Clubhouse apparently now sees more opportunity in encouraging people to have voice chats with their friends rather than broadcasting live to large audiences.
You can still make the type of live social audio rooms that made Clubhouse a hit, but the feature was a bit buried for me. From the home screen, I had to tap the microphone button, then swipe it over to a “tap to go live” option to start a room. Clubhouse says that live rooms “will continue to be a central part of Clubhouse.”
The revised app is now available on iOS and Android. You can read more details about all of the changes to the app — including some features that were cut — in this post on the Clubhouse website.