What if there was an app that made you expect to chat about almost anything? What if you could interact with different people every few seconds, and when the app was closed the conversation would be deleted? What if the conversation moved whether or not you participated in it, and even if you did there was a high chance of it disappearing unless you took a screenshot? (Read: An app that can make your dreams more positive!)
Say what you like here.
As you open the app, called Firechat, you are automatically directed to the ‘Everyone’ chat room, where you can bet there is EVERYONE. This factor has become the central point of the app, shadowing some of its other technological achievements.
The app can be used without a data connection or even a cell service, and the userbase is growing at 57 users for every fifty seconds, with almost a 100,000 downloads a day. And since its launch in March, the app is at the top of the charts in almost a dozen countries.
The app was created by Open Garden, a software company that provides Internet access through mesh networking. This technology has only been used in the military before. Basically it uses Wifi and Bluetooth to connect devices and create a system of chat, regardless of the type of connection.
Firechat works well within thirty feet from the user. At upto a hundred feet, there are no guarantees. But this potential is the core of the app. The chat room titled ‘Everyone’ is where the user interacts with random people. However, the growth of the app meant that the developers had to set a limit to those in the user’s country. Everytime the app is closed and opened, the people in the Everyone chatroom change. The one issue with this is that this room needs an internet connection in some way.
It is true, that being bombarded with random opinions and messages unrelated to you from everyone near or far away is annoying. But what if you want an answer? Ask a question and watch as random people answer you, without knowing who you are.
The reactions to Firechat have been mixed, from users loving it to those who simply cannot stand it.
However, the novelty of the app can possibly wear out, and developers have to work on how the audience can repurpose it. It can also be of importance in a time of connectivity shortages and communication blocks that occur due to natural disasters or social media crackdowns.
But the developers insist that the app is not trying to change the way we communicate, but shift the technology we use to do so and make it efficient. With all its shortcomings, the app still can potentially influence the usage of mesh networking in the mobile environment.
Even as the reviews doubt the potential of the app, an Android version is said to be out in some weeks. Firechat will also enable photo-sharing for the ‘Everyone’ chatrooms, but the developers will approach this cautiously given that the app is free. But the app will not create a base for one-on-one chat, since it wants to focus on mesh networks.
Indeed, potentially revolutionary!