(2011-01-15) Beluga Group Messaging

Beluga is a simple, yet full-featured, Group Messaging app for both IPhone and Android smartphones, with access for any Web-enabled device through its Web interface. (If you didn't know, we here at Read Write Web like simple-yet-full-featured apps, so Beluga fits right in.) Even feature phone users can get in on the group chat fun, as the app will send messages as SMS... Beluga joins into a crowded space of SMS alternatives, but takes it one step further by giving its users the ability to create "pods" of interaction and adding extremely useful features like geolocation of a individual pod members and picture sharing. If you're all actively chatting and choosing to share your location (notice: you have the option to turn this off or on at any point), then you can switch over to the map view at any point to see where everyone is... There are a couple of strong competitors (such as Group Me) (and Kik, TextPlus, Ping Chat), but if our experience with Beluga at CES tells us anything, our vote lies with the whale.

More on this space.

Are these guys building on top of XMPP, or doing their own proprietary protocol, or what?

Mar01 update: FaceBook is buying Beluga.

Aug21 update: Skype (in process of becoming owned by Microsoft) is buying Group Me.

  • Oct'2013: Shortly after the sale, the market for mobile messaging apps exploded. Two years later, Group Me has amassed more users, but the app’s early promise — product integration with Skype, international expansion, possible monetization — has stagnated... Last month, Group Me’s charismatic founders left the company.

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