Disco – Google Does Group Texting on the iPhone
A new app has hit Apple’s App store, and it comes from Google-owned Slide. The app is called Disco, and it is described as “Group text messaging on ANY phone made FREE & EASY!”
“Start as many groups as you like & start chatting right away,” the the app page says.
Google announced its acquisition of Slide last summer. The price was a reported $182 million. At the time, Google’s David Glazer said, “For Google, the web is about people, and we’re working to develop open, transparent and interesting (and fun!) ways to allow our users to take full advantage of how technology can bring them closer to friends and family and provide useful information just for them.”
“Slide has already created compelling social experiences for tens of millions of people across many platforms, and we’ve already built strong social elements into products like Gmail, Docs, Blogger, Picasa and YouTube. As the Slide team joins Google, we’ll be investing even more to make Google services socially aware and expand these capabilities for our users across the web.”
A couple weeks later, Google appointed Slide Founder Max Levchin VP of Engineering, a title he would share with Vic Gundotra, Udi Manber, and Andy Rubin.
So why is Disco available for the iPhone and not Android? It could be a strategic move to help combat Facebook’s group messaging strategy.
Facebook recently acquired Beluga, which bears a similar description to Disco’s: “Group messaging made easy.” Beluga is on both iPhone and Android, but obviously Google has a bit more control over the Android experience, and they might be planning something bigger with the Android version.
It’s interesting that the Google brand is essentially invisible on Slide’s Disco product pages, and the app page in the app store. It appears to almost be a way for Google to drum up some interest in a social app without the average person even realizing they’re using a Google app. Of course Google’s biggest social media-related hit to date also continues to operate without any obvious Google branding – other than the accounts users are now required to have.
One major hurdle Disco will face in competition with Beluga, is that Beluga utilizes the user’s Facebook network. Users new to Disco will have find some friends.