Posts tagged Messaging
Seo In Guk keeps messaging hearts to comedian Shin Bora?
I keep waking up because you send them in the middle of the night” and shared a screen shot showing the messages from Seo In Guk who apparently has been hooked on the popular mobile game 'Anipang.' Meanwhile, Shin Bora also attracted attention for …
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Internet users usually think of Wi-Fi networks as either open (hey, let’s steal Internet from our neighbor instead of paying for it!) or closed (only those with a password can access the Internet). If you leave your network open, how often do you actually know the people who are also logged on?
Wifis.org, a new site created and operated by Berlin-based Mathias Nitzsche and “Robert,” turns your WiFi network into a contact form of sorts, making you accessible to others via private messages that are transmitted through your WiFi network. To create an account on WiFis.org, login using your Facebook or Google account.
After you have logged on account, go to your wireless router or modem and change your Wi-Fi network’s name (SSID). This won’t change anything about the service itself.
Should Wi-Fi networks be more social? WiFis.org seems like it might be more useful for a Wi-Fi network you would access while traveling. Take the case of hotel lobbies, for instance. If anything, you may want to stop sharing your files with others in the lobby, but you still may want to find some way to connect with people around you in a less-than-awkward fashion.
WiFis.org is not designed for the hotel experience, however. It’s best for the everyday home Wi-Fi user who might not know who their neighbors are, and might actually want to.
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It was only a matter of time. Baby Beluga is swimming away… well, sort of.
In a blog post earlier today, Beluga announced that, as of Nov. 11, you won’t be able to send messages with its service. If you want to hang on to your Beluga messages, download an archive before Dec. 15, when the service shuts down for good.
Beluga was acquired by Facebook in March 2011. At that time, a Facebook spokesperson said the app would “continue to function as it does today…for now.” The end of Beluga was near.
Now, if you’re jonesing for a group messaging replacement, Beluga suggests you check out Facebook Messenger.
How Beluga Became a Facebook Whale
Beluga was created by ex-Googlers Lucy Zhang, Ben Davenport and Jon Perlow. It launched in December 2010. ReadWriteWeb’s John Paul Titlow took a closer look at Beluga in February, right before SXSW. Then, in March 2011, Beluga was acquired by Facebook, beating out group messaging apps, GroupMe, which was acquired by Skype this past August, textPlus and Kik.
ReadWriteWeb identified group messaging as one of the top trends of 2011.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced updates to Facebook Messenger that allowed users to see who is online, who’s mobile and when the other person is typing. It’s now available internationally in 22 languages on iOS, Android and Blackberry.
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There are way too many messaging protocols for middleware in enterprises today, and unless an asteroid plummets from the skies and coincidentally destroys the headquarters of several of their proprietors simultaneously, this problem won’t resolve itself. On the one hand, IBM, Oracle, and Tibco could come together around a single standard, and promote its use throughout the enterprise. On the other, what would be in it for them?
A group of vendors – led by enterprise Linux leader Red Hat, but also including VMware, Microsoft, and Cisco – along with financial services companies including Bank of America and JPMorganChase (which had the original idea), has been working together since 2004 to arrive at a completely new approach to solving the message queue (MQ) problem. There will not be a unified messaging queue, that much is certain. Their proposed solution is radical, but workable. And this time, it does not involve the Web.
It’s an Internet protocol, but a new one altogether – at the wire level. It is not an MQ. (We don’t need another MQ, you can just hear Tina Turner singing now.) Rather, it describes a binary transport format for messages sent between applications over the Internet – specifically, over TCP. It is Advanced Message Queuing Protocol. Last week, the AMQP Working Group published its final 1.0 specification; and today at JPMorgan’s corporate headquarters in New York, the members of the Working Group came together to celebrate.
“We believe the adoption of message-based systems will gain momentum now that customers will achieve faster innovation and not feel locked in,” reads a statement released this morning from Red Hat’s middleware VP, Craig Muzilla. “Red Hat is committed to AMQP as a game-changer, and we have incorporated its use into our messaging and other JBoss middleware solutions.”
Although the implementations of AMQP are conceivably complex, the basic concepts are actually quite simple. Consider, for example, that messages in a network are sent between applications. Never mind what the messages contain, or what format they’re in. The agents that determine how those messages are delivered are, in this instance, called brokers. However, there are two very different types of brokers. One is the queue itself, which is an ordinary FIFO buffer. The other is an exchange, which in AMQP lexicon is an algorithm that determines how a message is distributed, especially if it’s being broadcast to multiple recipients. The precise methodology used in a particular scenario for connecting an exchange to a queue or queues is the binding, which is like a manifest of instructions.
Thus the grouping which AMQP calls “exchange-binding-queue.” It was JPMorgan’s architects, schooled in the real world of second-by-second financial transactions, who came up with the concept. Its lead engineer, Rob Godfrey, led the final draft of the core specification, with engineers from VMware, Microsoft, BoA, and Credit Suisse participating in drafting the subsidiary specs.
But it’s not a common Internet draft – at least, not in the sense that we’ve come to expect it from the Internet Engineering Task Force. Engineers with IETF have not taken an explicit stand one way or the other on their feelings about AMQP; they’re still discussing what it does and what it means. They could easily end up embracing it. Meanwhile, one of the companies that originally participated in the process, financial IT services provider iMatrix, found itself coming out against AMQP’s 1.0 implementation.
Its alternative: another messaging queue wire protocol, called ZeroMQ.
“If there is a chance to simplify things and make them faster and more reliable, we must seize it. So, we make the next change to AMQP’s model: Exchanges may be anywhere on the network and are addressable from the rest of the network,” reads an iMatrix document that summarizes its basic grievances against what AMQP has evolved into.
IMatrix describes ZeroMQ (or 0MQ) as “an intelligent transport layer for your distributed apps.” But it’s going it alone in production, distribution, and promotion. That will be hard against the financial services juggernaut that JPMorgan has assembled. But it may not be impossible, in which case… here we go again.
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Private group messaging apps are hot. The Monday after Skype acquired year-old startup GroupMe for a reported $85 million, a team of innovators who lead the ultimately unsuccessful but very important charge to popularize RSS feeds has regrouped to build and launch a new group messaging app called Glassboard.
Glassboard launched in the iTunes, Android and Windows Phone app stores this morning and it’s a good, solid, simple app for communicating across multiple different topical “boards” on your phone. If you’ve got a group of people you want to communicate with for a short or long period of time, from your phone, with commenting, media and location sharing, then Glassboard could be the app for you.
The team behind Glassboard includes RSS veterans NetNewsWire creator Brent Simmons, FeedDemon creator Nick Bradbury and Newsgator’s VP of Mobile and Data Walker Fenton. When social media was first bursting onto the scene with the self-publishing power of the first blogging platforms, it was RSS innovators like Simmons, Bradbury and Fenton, along with Google Reader leaders Jason Shellen and Chris Wetherell (now both at AOL) that really made blogging scale by building the web apps that let millions of people subscribe easily to tens or hundreds of millions of blogs. Sadly, listening meaningfully will never be as popular as babbling about yourself or drooling, so RSS reading applications didn’t explode like subsequent technologies have. They have changed the lives of millions of people, though, and continue to power important work behind the scenes throughout a still-democratizing media world.
These days its Group Messaging that’s hot though, and it’s surely more accessible than RSS. As I wrote when previewing the Glassboard app earlier this Summer:
“It is built with Microsoft Azure as its back-end and will integrate with Microsoft’s forthcoming Office 365. The team is being intentionally ‘agnostic’ about its target market, saying it could be used by families, work teams or companies and their clients. These guys have built some incredible things in the past and it will be very interesting to see what they can bring to one of the biggest potential markets of the day.”
The app is now live and in limited testing, I’ve been impressed with it so far. It reminds me a lot of Beluga, the group messaging client scooped up by Facebook this Spring, except it’s better set up for small groups of people you already know than it is big public group chatter like Beluga is sometimes used for. One of the differentiators is that Glassboard uses the News Feed model to display activity updates from all your different group conversations.
Clearly Skype and Microsoft think that mobile group messaging is going to be an important part of the tech landscape of the future. Glassboard is a solid entrant into that market, led by a very high-caliber team.
Why Group Messaging Matters
As David Card, Research Director at GigaOM Pro, wrote this Spring:
“Synchronous communications (such as mobile group chat) are the latest battleground in the war over unified communications, but no matter how clever and fun those apps are, they’re not the real contenders. Rather, technology platform players like Google, Microsoft and Facebook are fighting to see what company supplies a user’s communications control panel — and a scrappy Skype can’t be ignored either.”
Why are these apps so hot right now? I think it’s in part because they capture the same feeling that one to one SMS and MMS capture, but on a whole new level with multiple people. It’s a paradigm that’s both simple and highly engaging.
Om Malik wrote in February that good group messaging apps could hold the key to Google effectively challenging Facebook in social technology. Their synchronous Interactions are “highly personal, are location-aware and allow the sharing of experiences, whether it’s photographs, video streams or simply smiley faces. Interactions are supposed to mimic the feeling of actually being there. Interactions are about enmeshing the virtual with the physical.”
That described Glassboard well, too; and so far the app looks like a clean, simple, fast way to accomplish those goals that are common among group messaging apps.
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Created at a hackathon last year, GroupMe is one of a handful of apps that enable people to have multi-person chats via their mobile devices. Group messaging has become a bit of a phenomenon this year, as a number of solutions have sprung up offering services that enable private group chat conversations from their phones.
Skype acquired the company presumably to expand on its own mobile group messaging features. The service currently offers multi-person chat rooms, but those are only accessible by Skype users. Facebook and Google have both gotten into group communications with Facebook Messenger and the “Huddle” feature on Google Plus. This acquisition is both an acknowledgement of the need to keep up with those competitors, as well as of the significance of group messaging in general.
The precise terms of the deal were not officially disclosed, but AllThingsD cited sources who said that Skype bought the company for $85 million.
“This acquisition is another step towards our vision to provide a global multi-modal and multi-platform communications experience,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates in a company blog post. “It complements our existing leadership in voice and video communications by providing best in class mobile text-based communications and innovative features around group messaging that enable users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their closest ties.”
Microsoft is already planning deep integration between Skype and its own Windows Phone mobile devices, and the inclusion of a group messaging service like GroupMe into that platform seems like a natural fit.
Group messaging was a hot topic at this year’s SXSW conference and was recently named one of the top trends of 2011 by ReadWriteWeb. Another group messaging app, Beluga, was purchased by Facebook in March of this year.
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Heello (“HE-low”), a dead ringer for Twitter created by TwitPic founder Noah Everett, just opened to the public. The project was announced a year ago, but it has been silent for most of that time. The original blog post announcing it has been removed (dead link). In fact, the blog link just takes you back to the homepage. Nevertheless, without declaring its intentions, the new Heello has arrived, and it is just like Twitter with one distinguishing feature: group private messaging.
You get a user name with an @ sign, and you @ mention people. Just like on Twitter, you can choose your basic design and set a background image. Instead of tweets, you post pings. They’re 140 characters long. You have the option to share them to Twitter or Facebook. You can add a photo, which the posted ping will display as an awkwardly cropped version inside the post. You don’t follow. You listen. Listeners, not followers. Get it? And it really has Twitter beat on this one: Instead of the awkward word retweet, on Heello, you echo. You can also have a private conversation with an individual or a group. The group conversations are the one feature that Twitter doesn’t have. But is that reason enough to launch a service that’s otherwise essentially the same?
When Everett first talked about Heello, it sounded like it would be something new. Last August, a year ago tomorrow, Everett told the New York Times Heello was “tackling communications with groups, … building services that help bring teams together online.” Group DMs are the only feature in Heello as it launched today that would seem to address that problem, and it’s not exactly a novel idea (see Facebook and Google Plus).
So what gives? Where is Heello going with this?
On August first, the Heello Twitter account posted this ambiguous message:
It’s worth remarking that the launch of this Twitter clone coincides with Twitter’s launch of its native photo-sharing service. Everett’s other company, TwitPic, has been a default option for uploading photos from many Twitter apps, including official ones, but now Twitter’s in-house photo uploads will threaten that status. In exchange for Twitter building in TwitPic’s functionality, Everett has released an app that copies Twitter. Everett tells VentureBeat that this was “a complete coincidence,” but he’s “glad the timing happened that way.” He goes on in that interview to hint at some upcoming features, all of which sound Twitter-like. Instead of lists, for example, Heello will have channels.
Currently, it’s a Web-only app, which is limiting. The homepage says mobile apps are “coming soon.” The main stream has three tabs: your pings, which is the feed of the people to whom you are listening, your replies, and a tab called “What’s Happening?”, which apparently streams all pings live. It tends to lag rather far behind, but right now, it’s a good way to discover people to follow. I mean listen to.
Why does this exist? It’s hard to say right now. Currently, it’s a giant land grab, with people indiscriminately snatching up user names left and right. There’s no way to tell, except by intuition, whether someone is really who they say they are on Heello, and all the juicy user names are probably taken by now. Fake @GooglePlus, fake @MarkZuckerberg, fake @YouTube, all of them have been claimed. You might as well go get yours in the event that Heello makes a name for itself. And hey, for all we know, Twitter could become an ad-riddled mess, and we’ll all be glad to have Heello when that happens.
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