This year for Halloween, a group of about 15 of us got together for a massive Halloween party crawl. With the crazy Snowtober 2011 snow storm in NYC, and the packed party schedule of 5 different parties across town, it was important that we all stayed in contact throughout the night – both to collaborate on our limo transportation, and to make sure nobody got stranded in the cold. To accomplish this, we revived a product that was launched at SXSW this past year – GroupMe. GroupMe is a group chat and text messaging service that allows groups of people to all text chat and teleconference with each other on their phones. The key feature with GroupMe is the cross-platform compatibility. For smart phones, there are GroupMe applications for both Android and iOS – allowing users to simply use the app to get into the chat room or conference call. However for other phone users, GroupMe will also push all group messages directly to the user via text message – allowing any modern cell phone to work. The utility of their applicaton has gained interest from big companies, too – recently it was announced that Skype is acquiring GroupMe.
For me, the text message feature is the killer app. I use hundreds of text messages (and now iMessage too) per day, and know the iPhone text message interface well. Text messages usually get delivered to me on time, and new message notifications are built into the core of the phone. So, to be able to keep up with a group chat room directly via SMS, instead of needing to load up an application every time is a great feature. Even on the iPhone, I still tend to use GroupMe via SMS.
For the next revision, I’d love to see GroupMe integrated in with Foursquare, so we can setup instant location based chat rooms with everyone checked in at a venue. Imaging the possibilities of that – both for social, and marketing applications. Foursquare, powered by Groupme and Skype, possibly coming soon?