Facebook set to unveil new group chat features

Facebook acquires group chat specialists Beluga
Facebook acquires group chat specialists Beluga

Facebook group chats should soon be arriving, following a deal which sees Facebook acquiring group chat specialists Beluga this month.

Is this the start of Facebook moving into the real-time group chat market currently owned by Twitter? Or might it be more about slightly more 'closed' group-chats between groups of close friends?

Chat pods on Facebooks

With Beluga's track record, it would seem to be more likely to be the latter, as the company provides closed group messaging areas in which users can create virtual 'pods' in which they then invite known friends to join them for a group chat.

"We are happy to announce that Facebook has acquired Beluga!" write founders Ben, Lucy and Jon at
Team Beluga on the company's website.

"Since launching Beluga, we've appreciated all the enthusiasm and positive feedback from our users. We're excited to continue to build our vision for mobile group messaging as part of the Facebook team. Beluga and Facebook are committed to create new and better ways to communicate and share group experiences.

"For now, Beluga will continue to function as it does today. Your Beluga account and data will not be lost. We'll be providing more details on future plans for Beluga in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!"

All three founders have previously worked at Google and will no doubt add a great deal of knowledge and experience to the Facebook team. We expect to hear more on Facebook's latest plans for group chat features from next week's South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

Beluga already has iPhone and Android apps to communicate with pods of people via traditional text message functions on your smartphone.

Via Beluga

Adam Hartley