Gruveo, a service that launched last year to allow for fast, anonymous video calling via the web, is now coming to mobile, starting with today’s debut of an iOS application. On the iPhone and iPad, the new app is less focused on anonymity, and more on being able to quickly call another person without having to go through a sign-up process or adding people to your contacts.
As with the web version, all users have to do to get started is agree with the other person on a code (longer is better), enter that code in the box provided, and select an option for either a voice call or video call. The recipient then also enters the same code on their end, and a connection is made.
In addition, because Gruveo already works with desktop and Android web browsers, you can call non-iOS users via the new app, and have them pick up via a web link. Those same web links – e.g. https://www.gruveo.com/#banana31 – when shared back with you, will automatically open the Gruveo app on your phone when clicked.
During your calls, you can also send text messages back and forth with the other caller if you choose.
The Gruveo service is a product from a small startup called ASM Systems Ltd., located in Košice, Slovakia, and headed by CEO and CTO Art Matsak. (He previously gave us the SteveJobsArchive.net website, which arranged the best Jobs’ videos in a format that matched up with the Walter Isaacson biography.)
All calls made via Gruveo are encrypted, and wherever possible, are established using P2P.
“The service is completely anonymous and doesn’t require software installs in supported browsers – Chrome, Firefox and Opera on desktop and Android,” says Matsak. “Under the hood, Gruveo is powered by the new WebRTC technology that makes real-time, in-browser communication possible,” he notes.
The team first came up with the idea for Gruveo two years ago, and launched an early version of the product last year built on Flash. But that technology limited it to desktops only, explains Matsak, which is why they switched to WebRTC and launched Gruveo 2.0 this July.
Today’s iOS launch will be followed by a native Android application, Matsak says, which would bring the service to all major platforms: desktop web, mobile web and mobile app.
For now, the company is focused on growing its user base, not making money, says Matsak, but they have a number of monetization models they could pursue when the time comes.
Gruveo is a free download on iTunes.