What is a group chat app? and which one is best?

Do any of you remember phone trees? That’s when you had a group of people who shared a need to communicate. A few of those people volunteered to make phone calls and the people they called would then call others. This worked ok if there was just one message that needed to get out to everyone, but if one of the call recipients then had some information to give back it becomes a mess quickly.

Today we have apps that allow groups of people to communicate with each other – instantly – like you are all in the same room at the same time. Group chat apps are oh-so-useful for communicating with multiple people at the same time. You can plan events, brainstorm ideas, or just keep up with what everyone is up to. You can also share photos, videos, and files with everyone in the group chat.

The problem is, we have so many apps to choose from:

  • iMessage – the texting app that comes on every iPhone
    Pro: easy and every iPhone already has it
    Con: can’t include non-iOS users in the group chat
  • WhatsApp – must download the app, but lots of people already have it. People are identified just by their phone number, no account necessary.
  • Google Chat/Spaces – must have a Google account, but that’s all. Great features, but its relatively new and not a lot of people use it yet.
  • Facebook messenger – must have a facebook account, lots of good features
  • GroupMe – from Microsoft
  • Signal – very secure, can set messages to disappear after specified time.
  • More???

We’d like to hear from you if you use any of these apps, which one is your primary group chatting app and why?