Facebook 'Friends'? Nah, Group Chat Apps Link Real Friends


Fast Society

With the tag line "Built to Party," Fast Society says it isn't just about sharing messages, but sharing experiences.

Similar to its peers, the free app for iPhones lets users set up private groups (in their lingo, "teams") but the partying aspect is front and center.

"Coordinating and staying in touch with friends can suck. We make it awesome," the New York-based company says.

To start, users set up teams that can last from a few hours to a few days (or forever). Then they can reach the entire group with one short text messaging code, set up an instant conference call or pull up a map showing each group member's location.

It also lets users send voice mail-type "shout outs" to group members and share public invites on Facebook and Twitter.

With a "past team view" feature, group members can also go back in time and re-live the experience.

Hurricane Party

Party people, here's another application for you.

The Austin-based start-up Hurricane Party lets users connect with groups of friends, but for the purpose of scouting out and starting impromptu and predetermined get-togethers.

Once you log in with Facebook Connect, the free iPhone app helps you locate parties nearby, start a party and see what your friends are up to. It also integrates with other social networks to clue you in to how happening each of the parties are.

Hurricane Party locates each party on a map, lets you rsvp inside the app to show friends your plans and lets users be as public or private as they like.


Available for Android phones, iPhones and iPods, Kik lets users share messages and photos with group members around the world.

But it doesn't just tell you when a message has been sent and delivered. It lets you know when it's been read and even when someone is in the process of writing back.

The company says it's a cut above the competition because of its speed, but because messages can only be exchanged within the app (messages don't count against your texting plan), it only works for those with smartphone.

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