The SXSW 2011 festival in Austin, TX has been overrun with group messaging apps from every corner of the world. The mobile technology trends we’re seeing out here are being fueled by personal recommendation apps and grilled cheese sandwiches (seriously), but the biggest trend, by far, is the group messaging trend. So, when we ran into GroupMe co-founder Jared Hecht, we just had to pull him away from the GroupMe-sponsored beer and grilled cheese sandwiches to talk about what he thinks about group messaging, what’s in store for GroupMe, and how his app strives to differentiate itself from the pack.
GroupMe has a few highlight features that make it a prime destination for anyone looking to conveniently chat with a group of people. The app recently rolled out in-app messaging using your data connection, so you can keep all your conversations neatly organized from within the app. But, and here’s the kicker, when GroupMe detects that you’re having data connection issues, it’ll automatically ask you if you want to drop down to using SMS text messages, which aren’t affected by unreliable data connections. That’s a big deal, especially when you’re trying to use the app in crowded venues where wireless networks (we’re looking at you, AT&T) take a headfirst dive into the toilet. Jared also talks about the one-click conference calling feature and GroupMe’s ability to assign unique phone numbers to groups, which allows even feature-phone users to keep their group chats nice and organized.
You can download the GroupMe app on your iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry phone from their respective app stores. Or, if you’re not one of those new-fangled smartphone users, you can hit up GroupMe.com and create you own group from the website.
Check out the video below to see our chat with GroupMe co-founder Jared Hecht in glorious 1080p HD resolution.