Google dances into group messaging with Disco

Ronny Kerr · March 28, 2011 · Short URL:

Group texting application for iPhone developed by Slide, developer team acquired by Google in 2010

Two weeks following the (sort of) epic war of group messaging apps at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, there’s a new entrant to the battle, and they’re no unknown.

Google, a Web titan increasingly seen as desperate to tap into the social space in a big way, has launched its very own group text messaging service: Disco. (Not sure why they’re targeting, with a name like that, me and every middle-aged person ever, but there you have it.)

Disco doesn’t really bring much to the table besides having been developed by the people behind Slide, a social applications developer acquired by Google in August 2010 for $182 million. After registering with their own phone number, the user can create groups of contacts to group text with. As with other group texting services, like GroupMe, not all contacts require smartphones to connect.

Weirdly enough, considering that this is technically a product of Google (via Slide), Disco is currently available exclusively for the iPhone. No word on whether Android phones will receive their own version soon.

So far, user reception seems less than lukewarm (two out of five stars from 51 reviews) with multiple customers reporting crashing issues. It is version 1.0, after all.

The new app will have to compete in a crowded space, currently occupied by the likes of GroupMe, which raised funding in early January, and Beluga, which was just acquired by Facebook at the start of the month. Beyond those, there’s a slew of apps like Yobongo and Convore offering variations on location-based public and private group messaging.

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