If I say “Marco,” you may feel the urge to call back “Polo,” and in this case, you’d be half right. While Marco Polo is indeed a call-and-response game enjoyed by people around the world, it is also a video messaging app in the same vein as Snapchat and Instagram’s Stories feature.
Released in 2016 by Joya Communications, Marco Polo has been dubbed a “video walkie-talkie.” The app allows you to send short video messages to your friends and family, and respond to them much in the same way you would with Snapchat.
There are actually a lot of similarities between the two apps. Both sport visual and voice filters, and give you the option to draw or add text to any of your videos. Where Marco Polo differs from other popular messaging apps, however, is that the messages — know as “Polos” — won’t disappear after they’re viewed.
There is nothing worse than trying to make concrete plans via Snapchat or forgetting the contents of your last message. With Marco Polo, that’s not a problem. You can only send videos through this application, though — not photos.
You can, of course, chose to delete your less-than-flattering videos, but unless you (or the person you’re contacting) makes the conscious decision to remove videos from the app (you can also only remove the ones that you’ve created), you won’t have to worry about forgetting their contents, because you can easily look back and rewatch any of the videos you’ve sent or received.
Another unique feature of this app is that it is not tied to any larger social network like Facebook or Google, making the whole experience a whole lot less noisy. You can also only add people you already have in your phone’s contact list, making it easier to stay safe online. No one has public access to your account or the ability to seek out strangers and send them videos.
There are also a variety of notifications you can get while using the app (which can be turned off in your device’s settings if they become too annoying) such as when someone is viewing your Polo, while they are recording one that is viewable, even when their internet connection is spotty and causing a transmission delay. All videos are stored online, so they don’t take up space on your device. Just be aware that this means the app will eat up a pretty large amount of data if you are using it a lot, so make sure to use it sparingly or only when you are connected to Wi-Fi.
That’s basically it! While Marco Polo isn’t revolutionary considering the other messaging apps out there, it’s a good alternative to most and addresses a lot of common problems with its competitors. You can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.