It looks like group messaging company, Gupshup (previously known as SMS Gupshup), has finally launched its GupShup Messenger app, after announcing it in November, last year. The app is currently available on Android for free and according to the company website, it plans to release the app on various mobile platforms including on iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, feature phones, in addition to SMS.
Registration: Similar to other messaging apps, GupShup Messenger prompts users to sign up for the service by entering their phone number and verifying it, when the user fires up the application for the first time. Following the verification, the app suggests featured communities/topics which users can follow, although we are not sure if the company suggests these communities based on their popularity or any other parameter.
Homescreen: The homescreen of GupShup Messenger is divided into five different sections – Activity, Public, Private, Explore and More. The Activity section provides a feed of all recent activity happening within the app. This includes the group and private messages one has received, public updates shared by the user’s friends, and latest updates from the communities/topics the user has subscribed to.
One can tap on any message to open in a different screen to reply to that message, view replies or share the message with any specific friend. Users can also browse through information about the group, view their previous messages and join the group if the user finds it appealing. Alternatively, users can also long press on any message in the activity feed to carry out actions like reply to any message, share the message with their friends and report any message for abuse.
The public section, as the name suggests, features all public messages from the groups/topics that the user has subscribed to, while the private section allows users to have private conversation with their friends on Gupshup app. The explore section allows users to browse through a set of featured groups or search for any group through a keyword-based search box.
The app also features a persistent text box at the bottom of the home screen, which allows users to post to their respective groups, although it must be noted that users cannot post messages to any other group they are members of, through this text box. Besides this, the app allows users to edit their profile, invite friends from their phone book and manage app notifications.
It’s interesting to note that the service is completely devoid of SMS integration right now except for the initial verification, which we assume was probably due to the impact caused by TRAI’s SMS Spam guidelines. Although, it does have plans to release GupShup messenger on the SMS platform, as stated earlier. It would also be interesting to see how the company solves the problem of monetisation for partners.
Inspiration from Twitter? It’s also interesting to observe that Gupshup seems to have taken several elements from the micro blogging giant Twitter within the app. The app features a pull to refresh feature in its activity feed, it features the @replies nomenclature while replying to any message and the private messaging typing interface is quite similar to direct messages interface on Twitter’s mobile apps. Even the group profiles also looks very similar to how profiles look on Twitter’s mobile apps, except for minor changes.
Other Apps: Mumbai and Singapore based Antarix Networks also offers a similar service through Imsy, although Imsy is primarily an Instant Messaging app which allows users to send text and multimedia messages to each other, and they can also receive content alerts from different services through 3rd party messaging bots. Nimbuzz also offers content bots through a developer program.
Rajesh Jain’s Netcore Solutions had also launched a mobile Internet based solution called Phone.cc which offered updates from various categories like News, Entertainment, Markets as well as 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 chooses to receive.