Instant messaging protocols like AIM, Gtalk, and MSN Messenger have all graduated to the cloud and users have witnessed a lot improvements over the years. Mobile versions for different platforms have also been developed.

Group messaging apps are springing up in numbers. You could say Group messaging is next after Group buying. The group messaging space has already seen massive growth this year and the trend will continue. A lot of startups are making a lots of buzz too. The year will witness a lot of disruptions and innovations around group messaging. GroupMe generated a lot of buzz at this year’s SXSW. Other group messaging services have also received a lot of user registration and usage in the last few months.

This is one of the simple explanations of group messaging as seen on

If you want to try to round up a group of friends to go to dinner Friday night, simply create a group from your contact list on your phone. You can then send out an invite message to everyone in the group and everyone can reply back within the same stream, so no one is missing a piece of the conversation. You can also assign a unique phone number to a group, so that you can continue to get in touch with these individuals whenever you want.

Most popular services allow text messages to be sent to one number and bounced out to many whilst others use the push-notification abilities built into most current smartphone platforms, to leverage app-based messaging systems.

A lot of apps are exploring the potential around group messaging. Some allow more than text to be sent. Pictures, locations and videos can also be exchanged. Applications like Kik allow its users to send such kind of data.

Facebook and Google are beginning to explore this space. Facebook has acquired Beluga. Beluga helps groups of friends stay in touch on the go. You can use it to plan a night out or just share updates and photos. Google is also working on an app called Disco. The app was developed by Slide, which Google bought last year for $182 million. Disco allows group texting on any phone.

There are still lots of opportunities to be explored in this space. The number of mobile phone users keeps exploding each year and most of these users will need an app that makes it convenient to exchange group messages around events, movies, check ins, places, interests.

Startups in this space include: GroupMe, Beluga, Fastsociety, Kik, Ping Chat, BBM

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