When Mashable founder Pete Cashmore says in an interview that your mobile app is the one to watch at South by Southwest, then — congrats! You're officially the darling (or at least the It App) of SXSW.
GroupMe certainly made a splash at this year's SXSW Interactive, hosting a free grill and generally creating buzz for its messaging/texting app, which works on any phone that can text.
It's competing in a cluttered and noisy space, one that includes GroupedIn, Kik, TextPlus, Brightkite, Fast Society and Mogwee – as mobile apps strive to improve on social, location-based apps.
GroupMe's features include:
- It’s platform ubiquitous
- Integrates with Foursquare and has built in location
- Group calling with one tap
- Text without using up your carrier's limit
- Syncs with your phone's address book
- Easy photo sharing
- Simple, easy to use interface
Fans include Business Insider, which wrote that “While GroupMe's competitors share a lot of the same features, it's the only app that strikes the perfect balance of everything you want in a messaging app with a user-friendly interface.”
While check-in services are ubiquitous — Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, Latitude, Scvngr, Whrrl, Yelp and Loopt, to name a few — group-texting services are still jockeying for brand awareness and market share.
The New York-based GroupMe, founded by Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci, was jumpstarted last year at TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. The pitch: “GroupMe lets you effortlessly group text with the people in your life that are important to you. It's your real-life network, in your pocket. It's totally free and works on every phone.”
GroupMe may have found success not getting lost in Austin, but when the grill's extinguished the question remains: “Are group-messaging services worth all the buzz? Or are they just a one-pitch wonder, a feature (or fad) ready to be garbled up by larger social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare? Time — and texts — will tell.”