A look at eight multi-person SMS services

The DEMO conference is wrapping up here in San Diego and unlike when it began 16 years ago the conference wasn’t dominated by mobile launches. None the less, there were some very interesting mobile services here like ScanR and Realeyes3D image scanning by mobile photo, Flurry‘s simple email and RSS on Java phones and Grand Central (which I’ve written about at length).

3Jam and Pinger both launched multiperson SMS services at DEMO. Probably first popularized by Dodgeball, multiperson SMS is a feature (or a company – your call!) that quite a few people are coming out with all at once lately. The following are some short descriptions of eight companies offering multiperson SMS and a table displaying which services offer particular features.

The List

  • Jyngle is a web based service that has voice support, just launched and got a review over on CrunchGear today.
  • 3Jam is funded, relatively straight forward and launched here at DEMO.
  • Pinger lets users quickly respond to messages by voice and received $3 million from Kleiner Perkins in 2005.
  • Swarmteams does a whole lot of things, though we weren’t able to get it to work well in testing for our original review. You might have better luck, and if so then this Irish service could well be worth using.
  • Loopt is a location aware service funded by YCombinator and Sequoia. We reviewed it at launch.
  • Dodgeball is old school and was acquired by Google in 2005.
  • Twitter is for groups of friends who want varying levels of instant, automatic updates on each others’ activities. It’s a product of podcasting company Odeo.
  • Moblabber is a mobile social network that users can receive topical messages from automatically.

There are undoubtedly more companies that offer multi-person SMS, or at least there will be by the time I click publish on this post – but I hope that comparing these seven company’s by feature set will help flesh out a vision of the landscape and where we stand today.

The Features