Group Texting is so hot right now


SXSW is known as a geek battleground, where apps and ideas compete with one another for dominance.  Last year, several location based apps likeFourSquare and SCVNGR fought, and FourSquare came out the industry leader.  This year, the focus has been on Group Text applications.  The first big Group Text application was from GroupMe, and most of the other companies offer a very similar service.

Basically, these apps allow you to create private groups on your mobile phone, even on not terribly advanced ones, and then send texts to everyone in the group.  Sort of like yahoogroups for text messages.  You can also send pictures, videos and do conference calls and it has a location based check-in system, sort of like FourSquare.  And it’s free.  GroupMe is the undisputed king of this realm, doing over a million texts a day, at less than a year old, but there are other Group Text services as well.

Another star of the Group Texting world is Beluga, which was founded by some ex-Googlers and was bought by Facebook.  It offers basically the same service as GroupMe, but now that it’s owned by Facebook, it may be integrated into their site rather than a stand alone product.  And users hate having to transfer their social data network to network, meaning that the start ups are now fighting the giant of Facebook.

Kik is an app that just got $8 million in funding, and launched in October.  It’s an instant messaging app that has incorporated SMS just recently, meaning that like the other apps listed here, you can use it from a “dumb” phone or computer.  The difference is that unlike the group messaging, you can create groups, but you don’t have to send them all the message — you can use the service for individual messaging, partial group messaging, or entire group messaging, much more like email.  You can also join or leave conversations in progress.

There’s also Ask Around from ask.com (remember when it was Ask Jeeves?), which functions as sort of a local twitter/FourSquare feed – you see updates based on your location, or any location you give it.  So it’s group texting, where the group is people close by.

And there are others that offer services almost identical to GroupMeGroupFlier (which has public groups), Brightkite,Fast Society, Text Plus (which has advertising or a fee, and has 20,000 groups dedicated to Justin Bieber), Grouped{in} (which offers some integration with Facebook and Twitter), PingChatEZTexting (charges a fee),groupflierRabblyprotexting, WeTXT, and undoubtedly a dozen more.

Cross posted from Social Axcess.

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