GroupMe is a service I’ve been happily using with my friends for years now. It’s great for sending messages amongst a group of people. It’s device independent, in fact even people without smart phones can receive and send messages via SMS.
The basic idea is you have various people assigned to groups. Then you can send a message (whether that be an SMS to a dedicated number or a message using one of their apps) and GroupMe takes care of delivering that message to all members of the group. It’s really handy for a group of friends who regularly hang out. No longer do you have to send out a mass text only to get various responses from people and then having to send out another message to let the rest of those people know who replied to the first one and what they said. With GroupMe, you send one message that everyone in the group receives and their replies are also sent to everyone in the group.
Why use GroupMe? It’s easy. It’s free. It takes very little set up and you can add new groups with ease. Do I need to continue? It’s really a big time saver. Trying to get the family together for the holidays? Set up a GroupMe and everyone can stay in the loop. Going to the beach on Saturday? Start a GroupMe so everyone can plan what they’re bringing and where you’re meeting.
While GroupMe is designed to work with SMS, it really shines at its brightest with their apps. There are apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. With the native apps you can opt to have messages routed through the app instead of SMS (you can still be notified of new messages via push messages). This gives you the benefits of seeing all your groups in one place. Managing current and new groups is a breeze right in the app. Other app features include a “typing” indicator, profile pictures and an easy way to see who’s in each group.
The design of the app feels very native to each platform. They’ve done a nice job using their own design language, but within the expected experience of each platform. You know it’s a GroupMe app, but you’ll feel at home using it whether you’re an iPhone or a Windows Phone user. You won’t see one of those crappy ports here.
Over the years they’ve continued to improve the GroupMe experience. They’ve added the ability to send photos and videos with your message, and you can even include a location, so it’s easier to meet up with friends. There’s also a Web interface to make sure you’re always able to connect with your groups. One thing to note is that with the app or website, you can stay in contact with your friends when you’re out of the country (as long as you have an Internet connection). No huge roaming SMS fees; now that’s a bonus.
GroupMe has done a fantastic job with their service. It makes texting with multiple people a breeze, regardless of their phone type. I’ve experienced very little downtime while using the service, and anytime there is a problem, they seem to jump on and fix it very quickly. I highly recommend giving GroupMe a try.