Off-the-grid chat app FireChat goes viral


The latest innovation in social networking, FireChat has gone viral in Hong Kong. The messaging app does not require mobile data or internet connection to send messages. This is one of the major reasons it has become a rage in the troubled state of Hong Kong.

Recently, there were rumors that the Hong Kong government was planning on cutting mobile data services in the country. This led to people frantically downloading this new service, with the app being downloaded 100,00 times within 24 hours in the country.

This latest surge has made Hong Kong the second-largest market of the app, only behind the United States. The app uses Bluetooth and peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to send messages, but this also means that people need to be within 70 meters of each other to send and receive messages.

The application is useful for people when at concerts and festivals to get to know other people in their vicinity. Protest organizers had called on their supporters to download the application in the event that the government shut down mobile phone networks and data connections.

FireChat was initially created for entertainment, but the company, Open Garden, now realizes that the application can also be used in these kind of situations.

Shiv Putcha, Associate Director with IDC said, “[FireChat has] visualized user cases that social messaging giants like WhatsApp, WeChat and LINE have not, like the lack of an internet connection, either enforced or due to unreliable connectivity.”

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