Whether you like Facebook or not, you have got to give it to Facebook for making an amazing purchase with Beluga, a group messaging service that competed with GroupMe at SXSWi in 2010.
The key to a group messaging app is market share. SMS always wins out because it is ubiquitous to all platforms. The problem is that SMS costs money (and a lot of it), and only works on phones. iMessage was supposed to take over SMS, and got close, but it only works with iOS devices.
I’m hoping that Google Babble (or whatever they will call it) meets the cross platform, reliable, feature rich, and ease of use requirements that I want and Facebook messenger has.
Facebook messenger is everything it needs to be. 1 billion people use facebook. They can see the message on their phone or their computer. They can choose to receive the messages as SMS, or use data. You have have large groups. You can have read receipts. You can send photos, You can send links. You can send videos.
The only downfall is that you have to use Facebook, and I only say that liberally. You have to have an account. TechCrunch reports that you don’t need an account, and can sign up with SMS only. http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/04/messenger-no-facebook-account/ In reality it is simpler to make an account, with nothing in it.
Just make a simple Facebook account.
Everyone then tells me, that what is the purpose, just use SMS, GroupMe, WhatsApp, or any other messaging program. The simple answer is that other people won’t use them. I’ve learned that people will only do what is convenient for them. I’ve long extolled how great Google+ is, but I still get bullied that it is a ghost town.
Even if you don’t use facebook, just have the account. Don’t use it for anything except messenger. Facebook can’t steal or use your data for nefarious purposes if there is no data there.
I also love facebook for oAuth. It allows one click login instead of typing some crazy long password on a mobile phone.
1) Edit your profile to just your name and photo. I like putting my email and Google Voice number there so people have them quickly accessible. I keep slightly more information there. I figure it is all so public at this point that who cares if my birthday gets leaked (I actually changed it by one day to see who really knew my birthday).
2) Go to preferences and disable your wall. Remember you aren’t there to socially network, but rather to use Facebook messenger. Your wall is no longer relevant.
3) Delete your wall posts. Obviously, you don’t want old posts of you lingering around. They will never go away, but it will be much harder to dig up.
4) Delete the people you will probably never really speak to. (I‘ve complained about this before). I thought that having friends, even remote ones, will be beneficial later on when I need a favor, but people can’t even wish you a happy birthday when told to.
5) Delete all pictures that you don’t want public, including tagged photos. While you are at it, turn on the setting that forces you to approve it).
6) Delete all the apps that you don’t use. The ones you do use, check their extra permissions so that they don’t post on your behalf. http://mypermissions.org is great for this.
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