The South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival has come and gone here in Austin, Texas. One of the most buzzed about topics was group messaging. I did some research about these new services, mainly Kik and GroupMe. Both Kik and GroupMe made an appearance last week at the SXSWi Festival. From the surface, they seem pretty similar, but I did find some interesting differences.
Kik is a group messaging service that is based out of a phone's data plan. Because of this, Kik is able to tell you when a message has been sent, delivered, and read so that you're not waiting around for a response. It's currently available on Apple devices and can be downloaded on my Android. Kik also allows me to share photos.
So how does GroupMe compare? Like Kik, GroupMe is available on Apple devices and Android, but GroupMe is also available for Blackberry. Also similar to Kik is the photo sharing ability available on GroupMe. GroupMe is based off of text messaging, which seems like it would be a lot cheaper than going through a data plan. Many people have free texting on their phone plans but most people are still paying a hefty price for their data plan. GroupMe goes beyond what Kik can do by offering conference calls with the groups you create and sharing locations with your group. There is also a neat service where you can have groups that have an expiration date. So let's say you're planning a party. You could create a group that lasted until after the party. One thing about GroupMe that might be limiting is the max amount of people you can have in a group, which is 25. Seems like there could definitely be circumstances that call for a larger group base.
So which one is better? It looks like GroupMe will have the advantage over Kik since it was rewarded the Breakout Digital Trend at the SXSWi Festival. Other trends that started at SXSWi include Twitter and Foursquare, so it's a big deal for GroupMe to be recognized by the festival. Have any of you started to use GroupMe yet?