Update: Skype (which was already acquired by Microsoft) has acquired GroupMe. The app and service are still functional at this point.
GroupMe is a new free service from Mindless Dribble Inc. for managing a group and sending/receiving group text messages. If you send and receive SMS text messages to groups of people, you can now use this iPhone app from GroupMe to create various networked groups for texting and maintaining them all on your iPhone. Since the app uses plain old SMS, the service works on any phone, not just the iPhone.
The app works by first asking you to register your phone number. Then you create groups and add members to your groups from your iPhone contacts or enter them manually. You can use groups for things like colleagues, friends or whatever else you might have a use for. Groups can be “ongoing”, or be set to end after “tonight” or the “weekend”.
Once you are done creating the group, the GroupMe service then sends you and all other members a text message with a newly assigned local phone number that you will use to communicate with your group going forward. Each new group is assigned a new phone number. Sending messages to the group can be done without using the app by simply sending a message to your group phone number. You can also send commands like #add to add a friend, #end to end the group, #new to start a new group, #mute to mute a group, and #help for more commands.
For example you can send a command like:
#add [johndoe 555-555-5555]
From the GroupMe app you can at any time start a conversation by hitting either the “Text Group” button which starts a group text or the “Conference” button to start a phone call that conferences in all the members on the phone.
Becoming part of a group can sometimes feel annoying if you get messages at odd times. To solve that issue, from the GroupMe iPhone app you can mute any group, if you don’t want to get any more messages from the group.
An option in the app can automatically sync your group info with your iPhone’s Contacts app. There are no ads but the app will send your group members a message asking them to try the iPhone app. Groups are limited to 25 members.
The overall graphics and user interface of the app is very clean and easy to use. The service is quite useful for creating a central place for group messages and conference calls, and the app adds value for iPhone users to view and manage their groups with ease. If you’ve ever wanted to easily coordinate something like a meetup with a group of friends or have a conference call with more than 3 people, GroupMe will make your life a lot easier. Be sure to get yourself a copy and test it out for yourself.
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