Group messaging company SMS Gupshup will be launching a upgraded version of its SMS based service which will enable all incoming messages from the service to bypass the user’s SMS inbox and appear in a new data-based app called ‘GupShup Group Messenger’, according to The Hindu Business Line. It states that SMS Gupshup plans to enable group chat between its users and non-Gupshup users, as well as all them to receive community updates from the groups they have subscribed to. It will launch by year end, and is expected to feature languages and perhaps voice features in future iterations.

This announcement follows the launch of a similar web-based service from Netcore Solutions called Phone.cc, which plans to allow users to create a web-based message inbox to receive messages over the mobile Internet and allow enterprise users to send messages to consumers the latter choose to receive. Gupshup already has an inbox, it’s just that it is now extending it to a p2p messaging model. This strategy appears to have been driven by TRAI’s SMS spam guidelines, which limits businesses from sending messages to consumers present on the do not call registry, unless the consumer subscribes to the category they are listed in. We had recommended an operator agnostic, non-SMS based push messaging approach earlier this year.

SMS Gupshup had recently raised a Series E funding of 50 crores from VC firms Tenaya Capital, Lloyd George, New Horizons, Charles River Ventures, Helion Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners for this initiative and it claims to have 50 million users and 25,000 businesses onboard.

This web-based service seems to be SMS Gupshup’s way to retain its existing user base and keep its mobile communities active, which otherwise it might lose to other group messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Kik. Also, this will reduce the chances of any impact of future changes in TRAI’s SMS spam regulations on its service.  We received an email from the company stating that its SMS delivery is back to normal, indicating that the service was impacted by the TRAI Guidelines.

Nikhil adds: suggestion for the company – drop the ‘SMS’ from SMS GupShup as well.