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FireChat with anyone sans mobile signals


FireChat with anyone sans mobile signals
FireChat is an app that lets you chat with anyone in your vicinity, even without a mobile or internet connection.

NEW DELHI: WhatsApp is the go-to instant messaging app on everyone's smartphones in India. It is simple, easy to use, free and requires only an internet connection. 

But what if you don't have an internet connection? 

To solve this, mobile app maker Open Garden has launched an app that lets you chat with anyone in your vicinity, even without a mobile or internet connection. Both sides just need to have FireChat installed on their devices. So, if you are in an area with poor mobile connectivity (such as flights, trains etc), or are on a trip to a region with limited internet access, you can still chat with others and share your experience. 

The app, named FireChat, as of now works only on iOS 7 devices that have AirDrop functionality - namely iPhone 5, 5S and 5S, iPad 4 and Air, iPad mini and mini 2 as well as fifth-generation iPod touch. 

It makes use of the Multipeer Connectivity Framework of iOS 7, wherein devices can communicate over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and peer-to-peer (P2P) connections. 

Micha Benoliel, founder and CEO of Open Garden told technology website GigaOm, "As long as there is a FireChat-enabled device to act as a node in the chain, there's really no geographic limit to how big the ad hoc network can be." 

The app can come in handy especially if you need help and your device does not have any mobile or internet connectivity. It can thus be a boon during emergencies.

One drawback of FireChat is that it will let you chat with complete strangers, but not friends who are far away, unless the FireChat web extends that far. And not everyone is happy about getting a barrage of messages from people they don't know. 

Staz Tam, a FireChat user wrote the following review for the app: "Downloading this app was the most disgusting mistake I've ever made. The app receives messages from people around your location, so when I got the app, the messages I received were very inappropriate. If you know the people around you very well and don't think that they're weirdos, go ahead and get this app. But if you don't know anyone (or most of the people) around you, I'd recommend that you DON'T get this app."
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